At the Republican National Convention last night, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) argued, "We can't afford another $500 billion in cuts to our defense budget -- on top of the nearly $500 billion in cuts that the president is already making."
A few hours earlier, Mitt Romney spoke to the American Legion, and made a similar case.
"We are now just months away from an arbitrary, across-the-board budget reduction that would weaken the military with a trillion dollars in cuts, severely shrink our force structure, and impair our ability to meet and deter threats. President Obama's own Secretary of Defense has warned that these reductions would be 'devastating.' And he is right.
"The devastation will be felt here at home, where up to 1.5 million jobs could be lost. GDP growth could fall significantly. These cuts will place further stress on an already stretched VA system, and impair our solemn commitment that every veteran receives care second to none. [...]
"The Obama administration is set to cut defense spending by nearly a trillion dollars. My administration will not."
There's one glaring problem with this entire line of attack: Republicans are blaming the president for the Republicans' policy.
Indeed, the cuts John McCain was whining about on the convention floor? They were approved by Congress with the support of John McCain. Paul Ryan, who's also trying to blame Obama for the cuts, voted for these cuts, too.
The entire line of attack is comparable to Obama coming up with an idea, then denouncing it, then blaming Republicans for it.
We've been over this, but apparently, some of the GOP's most prominent voices are slow learners.
As part of last year's debt-ceiling deal, policymakers accepted over $1 trillion in cuts that would be implemented if the so-called supercommittee failed. Democrats weren't completely willing to roll over -- they wanted to create an incentive for Republicans to work in good faith. Republicans agreed: if the committee failed, the GOP would accept defense cuts and Dems would accept non-defense domestic cuts.
The committee, of course, flopped when GOP members refused to compromise, which put us on the clock for the automatic reductions that Republicans contributed to the very process they insisted upon.
So why blame Obama? He's not the one who came up with the debt-ceiling crisis; he's not the one who recommended the defense cuts; and he's not the one who refused to compromise during the supercommittee talks.
Indeed, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently conceded, "What was our Republican leadership thinking when they agreed to the concept of sequestration?"
If Romney wants to propose a competing solution, that's fine, and I'd love to hear it. But in the meantime, he's condemning a policy crafted in large part by his own running mate.