White House threatens Nebraska senator with closure of a crucial Air Force base in an attempt to obtain his critical vote on health care reform
First, they gave Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu $300 million in exchange for her vote in favor of Harry Reid's health care reform bill. That was bad enough. Now, the White House is playing games with our national security and using 10,000 military families as political pawns in an attempt to garner the vote of Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, who has had very public misgivings about voting for the legislation because it holds provisions which would allocate federal funds to fund abortions.
According to the Weekly Standard, the White House is threatening to place Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base, home to U.S. Strategic Command and 10,000 military families, on the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission List. From Michael Goldfarb's piece:
Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As our 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.
This isn't the same as playing to the economic dire straits in Landrieu's Louisiana. This has gone from bribery to blackmail. It is outright dangerous, and downright treasonous. Already today, the White House provided aid and comfort to our enemies by revealing the plan to close the terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and house nearly 100 foreign terrorists in northwestern Illinois for the sake of political expediency, now they're playing games with American national security for the sake of forcing the passage of health care reform.
Indeed, Offutt is the headquarters for US Strategic Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, and not 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.
What gets lost in all of the left-right shuffle and the ongoing debate on the cable news networks is that the Democrats have the seats to pass anything they want. That they have not, that they have to resort to bribery and blackmail and--in the case of Sen. Joe Lieberman and his wife--the politics of personal destruction shows that this legislation is poisonous. And, as the pressure mounts, we're seeing that this administration is all too happy to administer the dose.