Earlier this week, I wrote about the possibility of an intra-conservative fight over defense spending, as sparked by Haley Barbour’s vague but forceful talk about refusing to exempt the Pentagon from scrutiny, and Tim Pawlenty’s hostile response to this idea.
It’s still too early to tell if this argument will become a serious issue on the Right, but it’s sure sparking some serious initial exchanges of fire. Barbour’s act of heresy earned him a contemptuous slap from neocon poohbah Bill Kristol, framed in about as insulting a manner as he could find. In a piece entitled “T-Paw Versus Hee-Haw,” Kristol said this about Barbour’s central contention on defense spending:
This is a) childish, b) slightly offensive, and c) raises the question of how much time Barbour has spent at the Pentagon–apart from time spent lobbying for defense contractors or foreign governments.
Ol’ Haley’s son, Sterling Barbour, responded with an email accusing Kristol of “assassinating the character of a great conservative,” and concluding with this whiny anathema:
My dad would tell me to leave this alone. And for the record, I have never heard him say an ill word against you. And he never will. He is the consummate team player. Maybe we should rename him the anti-you?
Now I don’t know what sort of personal issues are behind the Kristol/Barbour flareup. But aside from the healthy impact of any discussion of defense spending as a big part of the country’s fiscal problems, any topic that gets conservatives going after each other with claw hammers so quickly elicits a two-word comment from this Donkey: Hee Haw!