Republicans don’t like the State Department. They never have. The find diplomats, and diplomacy, too soft, too squishy. Republicans like war. They like guns and weapons and shooting up things. The State Department doesn’t do that. The State Department is Democrat to the Pentagon’s Republican.
So Republicans, for a very long time, have done all they can to cut the State Department’s funds, and Paul Ryan and the Republican House majority were no different.
But that’s not stopping Ryan and the Republicans from now yelling about how much they care about embassy security, after they cut it. There’s an election after all, and the Republicans are going to milk every “opportunity” they can.
The ugly truth is that the same people who are accusing the administration of not providing sufficient security for the American consulate in Benghazi have voted to cut the State Department budget, which includes financing for diplomatic security. The most self-righteous critics don’t seem to get the hypocrisy, or maybe they do and figure that if they hurl enough doubts and complaints at the administration, they will deflect attention from their own poor judgments on the State Department’s needs.
But as part of the Republican majority that has controlled the House the last two years, Mr. Issa joined in cutting nearly a half-billion dollars from the State Department’s two main security accounts. One covers things like security staffing, including local guards, armored vehicles and security technology; the other, embassy construction and upgrades. In 2011 and 2012, President Obama sought a total of $5 billion, and the House approved $4.5 billion. In 2009, Mr. Issa voted for an amendment that would have cut nearly 300 diplomatic security positions. And the draconian budgets proposed by Mitt Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, would cut foreign affairs spending by 10 percent in 2013 and even more in 2016.
We ought to be having hearings, all right. Hearings about Paul Ryan and why he cut embassy security right before our consulate was attacked and our ambassador and three others were killed.