The Republicans are the triplets who barnstormed the country over the past couple months to warn about cuts to the defense budget – John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte (Joe Lieberman’s All About Eve-like replacement). And this makes sense in the context of the letter (which I’ll post in full on the flip) focusing on defense cuts, invoking the name of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in particular to hype up the national security challenges at play. However, the letter concludes by saying “Based on this, we are committed to working together to help forge a balanced bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid damage to our national security, important domestic priorities, and our economy.” The word “balanced” is often used by Democrats, trotted out to connote a deal that involves taxes. So the assumption here is that taxes would be part of whatever solution comes out of a bipartisan deal.
That’s obvious from a Democratic side, but three Republicans are on the record with that, which is newsworthy.
The Democrats who signed the letter include two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Chairman Carl Levin and Jeanne Shaheen (Ayotte’s counterpart in New Hampshire). And then Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who isn’t on that committee, added his name. Whitehouse is significant because