Why do Republicans hate our troops?

If shoe were on other foot, you know GOPers would be asking the same of Democrats

Published December 18, 2009 3:47PM (EST)

This Washington Post story is, for lack of a better word, stupefying. Seriously, it may be best for you to sit down before reading the opening paragraph and the four graphs later in the piece I've excerpted here:

Senate Republicans said Thursday that they would try to filibuster a massive Pentagon bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an unusual move that several acknowledged was an effort to delay President Obama's health-care legislation....

"I don't want health care," Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) said in explaining his support of a filibuster. He is a member of the Appropriations Committee, which crafted the Pentagon funding bill.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Richard C. Shelby (Ala.) and Christopher "Kit" Bond (Mo.) admitted they support the spending bill but acknowledged they were considering opposing it because of the health-care debate.

Democrats were furious. They believed they had a deal with Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.), the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, to support the bill, but by Thursday night Cochran was saying he was unsure how he would vote.

"They are prepared to jeopardize funding for troops at war," Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said Thursday evening. "If Democrats did that, there would be cries of treason."

Not only are Republican senators threatening to block funding for the troops. Not only are they doing so under cover of night. (The move happened around 1 a.m. early this, Friday morning.) Not only does this go against all of the soft-on-defense attacks the GOP has launched against Democrats since, oh, 1968. 

But some Republicans openly admit they are doing it.

If President Obama and Senate Democrats cannot turn this into a holy shit storm of criticism, there's something wrong with them. This is a breakaway dunk for Lebron James. This is a tipped pass headed straight into the cornerback Darrell Green's hands, with nothing but an open sideline between him and the end zone. This is a fat pitch down the middle to Albert Pujols on a full count with the bases loaded. This is my beloved Alex Ovechkin with the puck on his stick and an open net in front of him.

This is, in short, an opportunity for Obama--not Reid, Obama--to throw up his hands and finally say what he should have said long ago, something like: "You know what, for a year now I've tried to negotiate in good faith with my Republican counterparts, but too many of them have ceased to be people of good faith. Their threats to shut down military funding are like the government shutdown of 1995--actually worse, because these are troops fighting two wars abroad right now. Apparently, the Republicans were for the troops before they were against them. This proves they are the party that stands for nothing--absolutely nothing--other than the excercise of power for power's sake. And they should be ashamed."

Then let Fox News have to run that clip all day.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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