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Staying on Offense

By Mike Signer | February 8, 2012 | No Comments

I’ve been dismayed by how fecklessly President Obama’s enemies are trotting out the old playbook of attacking a Democrat as weak on national security.  Even taking for granted our current fact-free politics, these assaults are particularly egregious, ignoring the confident, precise, intensely patriotic nature of the President’s foreign policy and national security.

I have an op-ed out in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch drawing on some of my experience in national security as well as some of the facts about the President’s proposed new Pentagon budget to argue that it’s critics like Mitt Romney who really ought to be playing defense on defense.  Here are  a few grafs from the article — you can check out the full version here.

There’s a great scene in Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” where a novice gunfighter loudly proclaims his toughness. “I’m a killer myself,” he boasts to the grizzled old bounty hunter Eastwood portrays. Eastwood’s character takes a long, slow look at the braggart. It later turns out that the man hadn’t killed anyone at all, and when he does, he falls to pieces.

I was reminded of this scene recently when I watched Mitt Romney’s victory speech in Tampa. He didn’t wait long to launch a political bomb at President Barack Obama. “He is intent on shrinking our military!” Romney shouted to a cheering crowd. He then accused the president of “appeasement” with our enemies.

When I ran for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2009, I was blessed with the support of retired general and flag officers from all four services, as well as veterans of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These brave men and woman abhor politics for politics’ sake. They are often more critical of waste in the military than civilians. In other words, they believe that our national security requires more cattle and less hat. But Romney’s words are the equivalent of a hundred-gallon Stetson. Should he become the Republican nominee, Virginia’s voters should treat him accordingly this November.

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