Fox Civil War: Defense Department budget edition

Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL

Today, Mike Huckabee voiced support for certain Defense Department cuts proposed by the co-chairmen of the White House National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform on Fox & Friends, while Sarah Palin urged Republicans to oppose defense cuts.

Palin wrote "An Open Letter to Republican Freshmen Members of Congress" on her Facebook page today:

You need to say no to cutting the necessities in our defense budget when we are engaged in two wars and face so many threats - from Islamic extremists to a nuclear Iran to a rising China. As Ronald Reagan said, "We will always be prepared, so we may always be free."

Fox News' America's Election HQ,, and Fox Nation highlighted Palin's letter.

Palin letter on Fox Nation

By contrast, on Fox & Friends today, Huckabee argued in favor of the defense cuts proposed by the White House commission:

DAVE BRIGGS: I was surprised, though, that the right wasn't as outspoken about some of the defense cuts that we need to make. A hundred billion dollars slashed out of that beast of a defense budget. It's unpatriotic to come out and talk about the defense budget, but their Pentagon is accepting airplanes that they don't even need.

HUCKABEE: They don't need and that they don't want. And what happens is, we're still designing a lot of military hardware for a war that we don't plan to fight. And, Robert Gates the Defense Department secretary, who I think has done an excellent job, and he has been one of those willing to grind sacred cows into hamburger and serve it rare, has really helped to identify ways in which we can keep ourselves strong, not cutting the military strength and not hurting veterans. There are two things Americans don't want to do, number one, get weak and, number two, hurt the veterans who kept us free. But those priorities don't have to be bloated with a lot of stuff that really is not about keeping us safe and protecting and caring for veterans. So yes, there are areas of the defense budget that need to be looked at honestly.

This isn't the first time that Palin has been at odds with another GOP official and Fox News contributor. We've noted the charges lobbed between Palin and Fox News contributor Karl Rove and their allies as a prelude to the 2012 Republican presidential primary.

Who at Fox News has taken sides on this issue so far?

Sean Hannity is on Palin's side. He attacked the deficit commission for wanting to "gut the Pentagon," on the November 10 edition of Hannity, saying "they don't realize there is a war; this is what's infuriating."

On the other hand, Glenn Beck has come out in favor of cuts in the defense budget. Beck advocated for cutting the defense department budget by "30-50 percent" in a chapter of his book Broke titled "Declare War on Defense Dollars," saying "[i]f Democrats are going to be asked to make difficult choices in cutting their favorite programs, then Republicans need to be asked to do the same." (Page 331)

In addition, Fox News' John Stossel listed some of the Deficit Commission's recommendations, including cuts to the Pentagon's budget, and said the spending cuts "would be a good start." Stossel has also suggested tea partiers should be concerned about the "exploding military budget" as well as other government spending.

And when Andrew Napolitano was guest-hosting an episode of Glenn Beck, Napolitano showed a clip of Beck advocating for cutting defense spending, and added, "I vote for the plan."

From the September 6 edition of Glenn Beck:

BECK: It's time to take on the defense budget. Roll up your sleeves, here we go! The United States spends approximately $102 billion to maintain our troops around the rest of the world. Watch this.

This is for our fleet around the world, bases overseas, OK? $102 billion on overseas defense. Add to that about $148 billion just on Iraq and Afghanistan. That is $250 billion.

Why? Why? Half of the world's expenditures. Why? Here is the deal. I'm tired of being the world's policeman. We can't do it anymore. But in most cases, we're not the world's policemen. We're the world's loiters. We need a new loitering policy.

And the policy comes from progressives. The Republicans, they say we're going to send the green helmets in and we're going to nation- build our way to global security. Be more like us.

The liberals, the Democratic progressives - they say we'll do it through the United Nations. We'll send in the blue helmets, which we pay for. This doesn't work. The idea of "let's take the armies and eventually put blue or green helmets on them" doesn't work.

I don't want a global government. I don't want a global military force. And for all of the Donald Rumsfelds out there who are watching me, cursing me out right now because, "This is no time to get rid and cut defense spending," this will help.

Are you ready? This is the world's spending. This is how much - this is - who accounts for all of the military spending in the world? Here it is. There is South Asia, Africa. This part is Russia, right here. Here's the Middle East, East Asia. Here's China. This is all Europe.

Here is America. Almost half of every dollar spent on all military expenditures the entire globe, we spend 47 percent of it. The next biggest spender is Europe. That, by the way, is not a country. That is a whole collection of countries - 20 percent. $289 billion is what they spend on military-related expenses. $289 billion for everything.

We spend $250 billion protecting their ass and fighting a war we're supposed to be partners with. For our defense? Don't tell me we can't afford to cut back because can.

We already found over $400 billion to trim from the budget, and we have just done a few things. All we need is commitment and common sense. But we also need an understanding. We need to have a real dialogue with Americans.


NAPOLITANO: I vote for the plan. (retrieved via Nexis)

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Defense Funding
Fox News Channel
Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin
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