Over at Big Government, Mike Flynn has a fascinating post on what Barack Obama is doing to our soldiers.
In the past, American soldiers were classified as essential personnel. Therefore, should the government shut down our soldiers would keep getting paid.
But Barack Obama has decided to hold our American soldiers hostage to a government shutdown. The Commander-in-Chief has, via the Secretary of the Department of Defense, proposed classifying our men and women in harm's way as "non-essential." That means, should the government shut down, they will not be paid.
As Mike Flynn notes, during the previous two government shutdowns during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, soldiers were treated as essential. Barack Obama is not following suit.
It is important to note that the "non-essential" classification is a draft recommendation, but it is a huge departure from prior shutdowns and comes directly from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Why would Barack Obama and the Democrats do this? The answer is simple.
They need to change the message because right now they are losing. And they are willing to use our soldiers as hostages to get that message changed. Let me tell you why.
Democrats are getting pasted in the budget debate generally. They can't beat the GOP on the argument that cuts are needed. The Democrats have no plan for cutting the deficit, and even liberals are calling Paul Ryan 'courageous.' They can't win, because they simply can't engage on cutting entitlements. So the GOP was winning on budget cutting, winning on the FY 2012 budget, and likely to win on the debt ceiling vote. The Democrats need a way to change the debate.
Remember, the only reason we are on the verge of a government shutdown is because for the first time since the budget act was passed in the mid-seventies, a Congress — controlled by Democrats last year — failed to pass a budget. That's right. We are where we are because the Democrats last year failed to pass a budget and now are refusing to go along with cuts as the GOP sorts out the mess the Democrats made.
The only way the White House can do that is to get a shutdown. They want to put the blame on the GOP, but even more than that, they want a shutdown. So the argument will be that spending bills start in the House, and the House still hasn't passed anything that can get 60 votes in the Senate. And until they do, the fault for the shutdown lies with the GOP. And, in the meantime, our soldiers are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya and cannot get paid.
With a media all too willing to push the anti-GOP position, we can bet the first photo in the newspapers the day after the shutdown will be of a boy scout locked out of the Smithsonian and the second picture will be of a flag draped coffin of a soldier with the headline "Because of the GOP, He Died Without Pay".
The Democrats will get their shutdown, and the debate will change to how to get the government open again. And when there is an agreement, Obama will take the credit for bringing the sides together. And he will be the hero.
Meanwhile, our troops fighting a non-essential non-war in Libya are reclassified just like the non-war.