Chuck Hagel, former U.S. Senator and President Obama’s choice for Secretary of Defense, is running into some obstacles during his confirmation process in the U.S. Senate.
There is an Arkansas angle to Hagel’s Secretary of Defense nomination.
First, freshman Congressman Tom Cotton has made a mini-cottage industry appearing on national television shows opposing Hagels’s nomination. Second, there is an incorrect belief among some Arkansas Republicans that if Hagel is confirmed it could lead to the closing of two Air Force bases, the 188th in Fort Smith and 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base. Third, Arkansas Republicans don’t want to admit it, but they may have inadvertently put our Air Force bases on the chopping block.
And let’s take a brief moment to consider that one minute some Republicans parrot the party line of “government doesn’t create jobs” and the next they decry the jobs lost if our bases were to close. Cognitive dissonance at its finest.
The biggest threat to the Arkansas Air Force bases is not Chuck Hagel. It’s actually sequestration. Tens of billions of dollars would automatically be cut from the defense budget if sequestration were to proceed.
From House Armed Services Committee:
“Despite over 350 base closings in five rounds of BRAC, sequestration could lead to another round of closures.”
As I said, Chuck Hagel as Secretary of State is not what we should be worried about when considering the fate of Arkansas’s Air Force bases, it’s sequestration.
Here’s the fun part, all of the Republicans in Arkansas’s federal delegation voted for sequestration. A fact that many of them would like us to forget.
It’s high hypocrisy when you attack a law you supported. These Congressional Republicans think they can do one thing, say another and get away with it.
Senator John Boozman, who opposes Chuck Hagel nomination, said this:
“We all agree that wasteful spending needs to be eliminated, but arbitrary cuts to our national defense are very dangerous.”
And yet he too supported sequestration which would lead to arbitrary cuts to national defense. Once again, there’s some more hypocrisy for you to consider.
To be fair, it should be noted that Senator Mark Pryor also voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011, aka sequestration. The difference here is that Pryor is not engaging in the hypocrisy that some Arkansas Republicans are wallowing in.
Arkansas Republicans should quit using Hagel’s nomination as a smokescreen to hide the fact that they helped set into motion a process that could close our valuable military bases in Arkansas.
Finally, instead of staying in Washington to fix this dangerous problem for Arkansas, Tim Griffin voted today to take off all of next week for President’s day. Griffin had better hope the Little Rock Air Force Base is not closed since voters will long remember who voted to gut the local economy.