Friday, December 18, 2009

Political Blackmail at the Expense of National Security

While the Democrats appease Senator Lieberman, they still have to worry about other recalcitrant Democrats including Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. Though Lieberman has been out front in the fight against the public option and the Medicare buy-in, Nelson was critical of both. Now that those provisions appear to have been stripped from the bill, Lieberman may get on board, but Nelson's demand that taxpayer money not be used to fund abortion has still not been met. According to a Senate aide, it is being reported the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn't fall into line. If true, this is almost criminal.

Keep in mind Offutt Air Force Base is the headquarters for US Strategic Command, one of the most important bases in the United States. But, who cares about national security when ruining America's health care system is on the agenda?

Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As one source put it, this is a "naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson's vote." They are "threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?" asked the Senate staffer.

As the headquarters for US Strategic Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, Offutt was not placed there by accident. STRATCOM was located in the middle of the country for strategic reasons. Its closure would be a massive blow to the economy of the state of Nebraska, but it would also be another example of this administration playing politics with our national security.

If I were Senator Nelson, I would call The White House's bluff. Personally, I don't think Obama has the stones to follow through with the threat. If you live in Nebraska (and even if you don't), call Nelson and tell him, if this is true, to stand his ground.

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