I don't have the heart to criticize Rep. Rob Bishop's guest commentary, "Reasonable reforms, not sequestration," on our editorial page.
For one thing, Rob's friends are already ripping him pretty good.
For another, Rob's right. The budget sequestration, which will lop billions in federal spending everywhere, including Utah, is not a good thing, and yet it seems to be heading our way March 1.
Rob's also right that we need reasonable adjustments to the way we draw up budgets. We can't keep running government from crisis to crisis.
There are a few things about his argument that I found rather silly, however.
Really, Rob, I expected better.
This whole sequestration thing is the result of massive divisiveness in Washington, D.C. Nobody wants compromise. Nobody wants reason.
Republicans criticized President Obama for not "reaching out" to them in his second inaugural address, and my first thought was, "Why should he? When he held his hand out four years ago, you spat on it."
How ugly is it? Rob is being criticized by his own party.
President Obama said Tuesday that sequestration is bad and has proposed some budget changes to avoid it, at least for awhile.
Responding to that, Rob told the Huffington Post, "There's so much angst out there ... It's already creating a harm. Obviously postponing the implementation is better than implementing the cuts."
Whoa! Did Rob just say something that agreed with President Obama?
I just got a news release from "Americans for Limited Government." It says it is nonpartisan, but its stands are all very Tea Party. The release says Rob's simple statement supporting postponement is really capitulation.
Rob's own party is cutting him off at the knees.
The National Review quotes several prominent Republicans saying sequestration, on balance, will be a good thing for Republicans. One is House Speaker John Boehner, who it said told the Wall Street Journal that Republicans' willingness to accept the sequester would reinforce the GOP position in coming budget debates about the debt ceiling.
"It is as much leverage as we're going to get," Boehner said.
Cuts will hurt millions of Americans, and all Boehner cares about is "leverage" for his political games.
Cuts are already happening. The Hilltop Times reported last week the Air Force is freezing new hires, laying off part-time workers, delaying all but mission-critical purchases and generally tightening up.
Rob's column criticized such rapid cuts, and he's right as far as he goes. They're sloppy, and every dollar the military cuts is a dollar lost to the local economy.
What he doesn't say is that every dollar the departments of Education, Agriculture, Justice and Veterans Affairs cut is also a dollar out of the local economy. Why didn't he criticize those cuts as well?
That's where I have to zing Rob. His whole column only talks about the military, not the rest of us.
His love of things military is also where he got silly.
Arguing for defense spending, he said, "We have the smallest Navy since 1917, the smallest Army since before World War II" as if numbers of ships and soldiers means anything.
They don't. The comparison is ludicrous.
We have a mere 10 active nuclear aircraft carriers, but any one of them could sink Teddy Roosevelt's 1907 Great White Fleet -- 16 fully armed, coal-fired battleships -- without breathing hard.
Mitt Romney tried that "Our Navy is so tiny!" line during the presidential campaign and ended up looking silly. You'd think Rob, a history teacher, would learn from the past.