By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL –
The view from here, the 12th-floor conference room of a defense contractor, offers a stunning vista of Washington, D.C. But the dozen or so members of the defense industry sitting around the table aren’t taking in the scenery. They’re listening to George Allen talk “sequester.”
Sequester is an eye-glazing word, yet Mr. Allen, a former Republican governor of Virginia, has made it a household term and the center of his campaign to win a Senate seat. The sequester refers to the $1 trillion, across-the-board cuts to defense and domestic spending that will begin to hit on Jan. 2—the result of the congressional super-committee’s failure last year to cut the deficit.
Mr. Allen has used the sequester to narrow the gap between himself and his opponent, Democrat Tim Kaine. He has done so, in part, by wrapping the looming cuts into a larger and more powerful argument about spending, growth and taxes.
The Democrats’ solution to defense cuts is “to raise taxes,” Mr. Allen tells the group. That’s not only using “military men and women” as a “bargaining chip” for the president’s tax hikes, he argues, it’s doubling down on Washington’s mistakes. Democrats are offering the choice of defense-job losses from sequester, or defense-job losses from taxes. The real way forward, Mr. Allen says, is a better economy, which will in turn help with deficits.