Is Isakson serious about cutting defense spending?

Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, a GOP stalwart, has bravely waded into an area where few Republicans dare to tread. He has promised to cut defense spending. The web site Think Progress has posted an interview Isakson gave to Atlanta TV reporter Paul Yates on Fox Five earlier this week.

At one point, Fox 5’s Paul Yates asked the senator about legislation he’s pushing that would “dramatically reduce the federal budget deficit in coming years.” Yates asked Isakson which “government programs would have to be cut to make that proposal work.” Isakson responded that “there’s not a government program that shouldn’t be under scrutiny. And that begins with the Department of Defense and goes all the way through:”

YATES: You’re pushing legislation that would dramatically reduce the federal budget deficit in coming years. Which government programs would have to be cut to make that proposal work?

ISAKSON: Well first of all there’s not a government program that shouldn’t be under scrutiny. And that begins with the Department of Defense and goes all the way through. We need to be asking the American government to do what the American people have been forced do, which is sit around the kitchen table, prioritize their expenses based on income, and balance their budget.

Here’s the video:

Think Progress chides Isakson for talking the talk but refusing to walk the walk, noting that he has continued to vote for huge defense appropriations:

When the Pentagon requested to Congress to phase out the F-22 program — meaning even the Department of Defense didn’t want to build additional fighters — Isakson fought the request. The senator defended the unneeded aircraft on the floor of the U.S. Senate and all over the media.

But if government spending is to be cut, defense is an appropriate target. Including veterans’ benefits, defense spending comes in at around 20 percent of the federal budget. If Republicans are serious about cutting government spending, the Pentagon has to be reined in, too.

But Republicans haven’t followed through on their pledges for fiscal austerity. Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul used to talk about cutting the Pentagon radically, but he stopped that sort of talk as soon as he won the GOP nomination. The Republican establishment got a ahold of him and forced him to fit its mold.

We’ll see if Sen. Isakson means what he says.

345 comments Add your comment

Barbara

October 7th, 2010
7:26 am

The American people are ready to see government shrink. While this includes defense, there is much more on the table. As individuals and businesses we have had to to more with less, making decisons about what we could do without.
Our cuts under Obama have been real cuts, not the phoney media cuts which are just less of an increase than someone proposed. We know it can be done becasue we have done it in our own lives.
Government can too.

Alatsea

October 7th, 2010
7:26 am

There is so much waste in the defense budget, 25 dollar hammers, 2000 dollar toilets, a cut in defense would be easy by eliminating wasteful spending and taking legal action against vendors who consistently rip the tax payers off.

Good Grief

October 7th, 2010
7:35 am

CT – Are you ever going to quote a conservative site, or do you get all of your information from Think Progress, MoveOn, CNN, MSNBC, etc? If you only quote those sources, and then rail (as you have in the past) on people only getting news from Fox, aren’t you being hypocritical?

PS: This goes for certain others on this blog.

Alatsea

October 7th, 2010
7:38 am

When I still had hair I worked for Boeing International at the Kennedy space center. One of my jobs was to cut brand new still on the pallet plywood into squares . The squares had to be no bigger than 12 inches by 12 inches. This way the squares could be sent to reclamation so they could either be burned or buried. Their were several hundred pallets of plywood that were all treated the same. The reason, it would cut budgeted dollars for next year if this product was still in inventory. I asked couldn’t this product be used in a more resourceful way? The answer was “it doesn’t work that way”. The total dollars wasted this way is minuscule to the space programs budget, but it is wasted tax payers dollars.

JohnnyReb

October 7th, 2010
7:43 am

Barbra@7:26 – “Our cuts under Obama have been real cuts.”

Please enlighten us as to what Obama, the spend King, has cut?

barking frog

October 7th, 2010
7:48 am

We have helped build Europe to where the living
conditions are better than the US and they rival the US
in wealth.
We are now engaged in building the Middle
East to the same level after building the Far East to
a status above ours.
We must now use the Defense Budget to raise living
conditions in South America and Africa to a
comparative level.
This leaves no room for Defense cuts until mid century.
Isakson is full of it.

Bob

October 7th, 2010
7:49 am

Lets bring our troops home from that Illegal war ! Korea. That would save quite a bit.

barking frog

October 7th, 2010
7:53 am

The Gun Rule: He who has the biggest gun rules.

Joel

October 7th, 2010
7:54 am

CT, all you only willing to cut is defense? Are you seious about cutting anywhere else? IN tough times people need to make tough decisions. So, where else you willing to cut?

barking frog

October 7th, 2010
8:00 am

The Democratic plan to cut food stamps for the poor, since
they’re too fat anyway, is a much more workable plan.

JohnnyReb

October 7th, 2010
8:01 am

Ms Tucker, I suggest you should be more concerned of Pelosi wanting to double down on unemployment and food stamps than if Isakson would truly vote for cutting defense spending.

dougmo2

October 7th, 2010
8:02 am

Todays topic, Republican Senator Bad.
Tomrrows topic, All White People Bad.
Mondays topic, Obama’s Poop Smells Great.

There CT, I saved you the trouble of keeping us guessing. You should be happy.

JKL2

October 7th, 2010
8:03 am

I don’t believe I can be held accountable for everything I said while campaigning. That’s just the way things work in Washington. –Barack Obama

Even if he is lying as you are claiming, he’s just following the shining example set by our president.

Keep up the good fight!

October 7th, 2010
8:03 am

Good grief must be right…I mean people who get their news from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, some from MSNBC, local news stations, internet sites like Think Progress, Move On, Factcheck, Politifact or Newsweek, NY Times, AJC and others have such a myopic view from those who watch only Fox. So now tell me..where is the liberal elite progressive plot in quoting Isakson and questioning his sincerity given his past resistance to cuts requested by the military?

I would hope that Isakson and other Republicans would join Obama is seeking military defense cuts, closing unneeded bases and working out waste in the system. Its an easy claim to make, its much harder to actually do.

barking frog

October 7th, 2010
8:07 am

Reagan was right. Ketchup should have been included
as a vegetable in school kid’s lunches. The recession
might have been averted.

granny godzilla

October 7th, 2010
8:10 am

JKL2

“JKL2

“I don’t believe I can be held accountable for everything I said while campaigning. That’s just the way things work in Washington. –Barack Obama”

I think you made that up.

Bubba Bob

October 7th, 2010
8:10 am

Oh no, a Republican has suggested a program to cut and it’s to a ‘lefty’ favorite. You’ll have to find a new gripe for a while.

Where are the mighty and brave Dems who will name a ‘lefty’ entitlement that should be scrutinized?

Peadawg

October 7th, 2010
8:11 am

“talking the talk but refusing to walk the walk” – like the Democrats who want higher taxes but aren’t willing to put a check in the mail to Uncle Sam

BTW, defense isn’t the only thing that needs to be cut. We need to get away from this entitlement mentality that some have grown accustomed to.

Jethro

October 7th, 2010
8:12 am

In fairness to Sen. Isakson, F22s were built – at least partially – by Lockheed in Marietta. Lockheed gives jobs to Georgians. As a Georgia senator, he has a duty to represent all of his constituents – including those that provide revenue to state coffers in terms of state taxes paid by each Lockheed employee. It’s a challenging balancing act, representing the interests of his constituents vs. the interests of federal government.

JKL2

October 7th, 2010
8:13 am

granny-

Piffle.

granny godzilla

October 7th, 2010
8:14 am

JKL2

I challenge you on that quote.

Back it up.

JohnnyReb

October 7th, 2010
8:16 am

Peadawg@8:11 – true, but it won’t come from the Dems. They want to keep their government plantation so as not to loose power. The Democratic party is THE biggest enemy to the poor and middle class, yet those same people refuse to see it.

StJ

October 7th, 2010
8:22 am

Alatsea:

Multiply your plywood exercise by the number of government agencies and offices you can see where cuts need to be made (and not in perfectly good plywood). A relative of mine did seasonal work for the IRS and the office threw away dumpsters full of perfectly good, brand-new office supplies for the very same reason – to make sure their budget is bigger next year. Government work at its finest – to hell with the taxpayers.

Goverment employees who waste money like this in order to make sure their fiefdom grows should be fired and prosecuted for fraud. There’s some change I can believe in.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 7th, 2010
8:23 am

From July – Obama: ‘I Expect To Be Held Accountable’ On Jobs

You will be, POTUS, the midterms are fast approaching.

quod erat demonstrandum

October 7th, 2010
8:24 am

Before 1979 education was not as bad as now – but then again we didn’t have a Department of Education. That is one budget cut I would applaud.

Good Grief

October 7th, 2010
8:25 am

Good Fight – I was merely pointing out the fact that CT and many of the people on this blog quote liberal sites, but then jump on people who quote FoxNews. I’m not lifting up the standard for any new site. I can’t stand it though, when people bash Fox as not being real news, and when you ask for citation, they point to Beck, O’Reilly, and Hannity. That would be like saying CNN news is biased because of the Larry King show.

When it comes to news, I prefer to see what all sides are saying. I don’t just step into the Think Progress line, nor do I fall into the line of The Blaze. Having only one source (or bias, or agenda) for news is not a good thing.

I would love to see across the board spending cuts. Sadly, the line from Democrats is the defense spending must be the first thing on the chopping block. No way they’re going to throw their precious entitlement programs on the block first.

pat

October 7th, 2010
8:25 am

Thinkprogess.org, what garbage. If you can’t better references than that, you have no point to make.

“ThinkProgress was voted “Best Liberal Blog” in the 2006 Weblog Awards”

Way to get an “unbiased” source. I think everybody should read it. It’s almost hysterically inaccurate and bad. When Ifeel down, I read it and I realize, damn, I am a lot smarter than these idiots.

Keep up the good fight!

October 7th, 2010
8:26 am

like the Democrats who want higher taxes but aren’t willing to put a check in the mail to Uncle Sam

Most absurd argument of the day. So how many wingnuts have put their checks in the mail to build a border fence? Or to pay for the military to be there? What you spew nonsense and can’t write a check to back up the bill your mouth is running up?

quod erat demonstrandum

October 7th, 2010
8:26 am

pat,

You want Cynthia to be unbiased?

That is like asking 3 day old fish not to stink.

Vickers

October 7th, 2010
8:27 am

I used to be an Isackson supporter but every since he’s been in the senate he has marched lock step with the republican agenda much to the detriment of the American people. He has voted against all of the needed reforms, against unemployment benefits and even against women’s legal rights while serving in the military. He will fall in line with what he is told to do. Also, remember that he called Palin a nut case then did an about face after the repub hierarchy got to him. He is now just one of the blind mice following the Pied Piper.

Tech Man

October 7th, 2010
8:27 am

Jethro
October 7th, 2010
8:12 am

Spot on

Call it like it is

October 7th, 2010
8:27 am

What Cynthia??? Are you telling me that Johnny fought for a plane that is built in his home state in Marietta, GA. Are you telling me he is looking out for the people who put him in office? Oh the shame, couldnt be true? Yawn………

Jethro

October 7th, 2010
8:28 am

Respectfully, granny, I do recall the President saying something to the effect of what JKL2 stated. Beck in November or December of last year. Maybe on an interview with MSNBC – I’m getting old, I don’t remember specifically. I’m not an avid Googler; you are much better than I. At the time, I attributed it to political double speak engaged by both sides, thinking it only matters when it’s done by the party in charge. Like Pelosi’s promise to “drain the swamp.” Repubs do it all the time too.

Not trying to pick a fight, granny. I’m just sayin’.

granny godzilla

October 7th, 2010
8:29 am

Jethro

Just sayin’….I goolged the snot out of that phrase.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

JKL2

The challenge remains.

ctucker

October 7th, 2010
8:30 am

Call it like it is@8:27, So defense spending should be a form of government stimulus to keep unemployment low?

ctucker

October 7th, 2010
8:30 am

Vickers@8:27, I, too, have been disappointed in Isakson

ctucker

October 7th, 2010
8:30 am

quod@8:26, This is an opinion site.

ctucker

October 7th, 2010
8:31 am

pat@8:25, Two things: First, this is an opinion site. It’s not supposed to be “unbiased.” Second, did ThinkProgress repeat anything that isn’t true?

JKL2

October 7th, 2010
8:31 am

granny- Back it up.

Too busy to play today. It may not be a direct quote (no “s) but I will bet large stacks of money he said it. I’ve seen the video way too many times. (not that that’s evidence to you Demwits)

granny godzilla

October 7th, 2010
8:33 am

pat

we know you don’t like “liberal” websites. we accept that. no biggie.

the key though, is they are accurate on this.

Jethro

October 7th, 2010
8:36 am

Just a question: When did being a “liberal” or being a “conservative” become more defining than being an “American?”

granny godzilla

October 7th, 2010
8:37 am

JKL2

Well, thanks for nearly being honest.

Better yet for giving us ammo.

There’s an old saying that’s appropriate now….

Don’t let your mouth write checks your ass can’t cash.

Tech Man

October 7th, 2010
8:40 am

CT-
So your quoted example of Johnny fighting for Lockheed combined with your dissapointment in him means you are against jobs at Lockheed in Marietta? I see.

Keep up the good fight!

October 7th, 2010
8:41 am

Good Grief – If you read Ms. Tucker’s posts, you’ll see she does get her information from a variety of sources (unlike the Crazy Grizzly Palin). I am not going to get into a repeat argument on the Hannity/Beck and the other so-called Fox real news. You can go to the archives for that.

But your claim Sadly, the line from Democrats is the defense spending must be the first thing on the chopping block. No way they’re going to throw their precious entitlement programs on the block first. is just wrong and absurd.

Start with the current White House position from its website:

•Cut the deficit in half by the end of the President’s first term. On January 20, 2009, the President inherited a $1.3 trillion budget deficit. The President has put forth a budget that will halve this deficit by the end of his first term, bring non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of GDP since 1962.
•Review the budget line-by-line for waste. We should be investing taxpayer dollars in efforts and programs with proven records of success and reallocating or cutting programs that do not work or whose benefits are not worth their cost. Secretary of Defense Gates has unveiled an unprecedented effort to reform defense contracting, and the President has launched a line-by-line review of the federal budget to pinpoint what programs works and what needs to be terminated or reduced in scope.
•Return to honest budgeting. Too often in the past several years, budget tricks were used to make the government’s books seem stronger than they actually were. The President put forward a budget that rejects many of these gimmicks, most notably, the exclusion of war costs.
•Return to Pay-As-You-Go budgeting. The President and his team are working with Congress to develop a set of budget enforcement rules that are based on the tools that helped create the surpluses of a decade ago, including statutory PAYGO.
•Eliminate wasteful redundancy. The Administration will conduct an immediate and periodic public inventory of administrative offices and functions and require agency leaders to work together to root out redundancy.
•Streamline government procurement. The President will implement the GAO’s recommendations to reduce erroneous Federal payments, reduce procurement costs with purchase cards, and implement better management of surplus Federal property.
•Reform federal contracting and acquisition. The Administration will take several steps to make sure that taxpayers get the best deal possible for Government expenditures. We will review the use of sole source, cost-type contracts; improve the quality of the acquisition workforce; and use technology to create transparency around contracting. In the Defense Department, Secretary Gates has identified major weapons programs for cut or reduction in order to get the most our of our defense dollars.
•Put performance first. The President is creating a focused team composed of top-performing and highly-trained Government professionals and headed by a new Chief Performance Officer (CPO). The CPO will work with Federal agencies to set tough performance targets and hold managers responsible for progress.
•Spend taxpayer dollars wisely on our large entitlement programs. With billions of dollars being spent in programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid upon which so many Americans rely, it is important that they are run efficiently and effectively. To that end, the Administration will make significant investments in expanding oversight activities in the largest benefit programs and increasing investments in tax compliance and enforcement activities.

verboten

October 7th, 2010
8:41 am

Barely on topic here, but I keep hearing about how extending the Bush tax cuts “for the rich” is “unaffordable”. And the language is often accompanied by terms like “giving $700 to rich people” or even in one case (Paul Krugman, one of CT’s heroes I’m sure) said “[politicians are] eager to cut checks averaging $3 million each to the richest 120,000 people in the country.”

Unless Krugman, CT, et al. are using language as Humpty Dumpty used it (or Bill Clinton), these words are simply untrue.

First, no one is “cutting checks” to rich people by allowing them the keep their own money.

Second, extending these cuts are only “unaffordable” in the same way that not getting a raise at work (increasing revenue) is unaffordable. Sure it would be nice to have more revenue, but if you were already living within your means, it would not be a problem at all. What our government has is a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Annual revenue under Bush exceeded $2.5T in 2006, 2007, but Congress still managed to spend more than that and as CT pointed out recently, the lion’s share of all of that spending is in SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the deficit.

SpaceyG

October 7th, 2010
8:41 am

Uh oh. When Republicans start making sense they get the Lindsey Graham treatment… death by 100,000 drooling redneck backwater comments.

pat

October 7th, 2010
8:41 am

“Second, did ThinkProgress repeat anything that isn’t true?”

Yes. The bigger question is have they ever said anything that was true. Unless you can find a better source, I there is no possible way to believe that what was said is in any way true with out heavy editing. They have been busted falsifying so much info in the past, that there is no credibility what so ever.
I welcome anybody to look that up. There’s like a trillion stories about how they falsfy information…Look it up if you don’t believe me.
Oh they’re not alone. Moveon does it too.

They have no credibility and neither do you if you base info on them.
This is a waste of a wasted time. I am out, this blog is worthless.

granny godzilla

October 7th, 2010
8:43 am

Tech Man

So your questioning of Ms. Tucker regarding being against jobs at Lockheed and Marietta means you support excessive defense spending by the DOD?

Probably not, but strawman questions are too much fun.

Tech Man

October 7th, 2010
8:43 am

Keep up the good fight!
October 7th, 2010
8:41 am

Where’s the Budget?

Tech Man

October 7th, 2010
8:44 am

granny godzilla
October 7th, 2010
8:43 am

I asked CT to explain herself on the use of her examples and her feelings?