[Vision2020] military jobs: red v blue states

Debbie Gray dgray at uidaho.edu
Mon May 16 19:52:40 PDT 2005

Base closings to hit 'blue' states harder

Matthew D. LaPlante and Thomas Burr
Salt Lake Tribune
May. 15, 2005 12:00 AM

Defense Department data show that "blue states," those that voted for
Democrat Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, are slated to
lose a combined 24,289 military jobs while their "red state" counterparts,
those states carried by President Bush, will gain nearly 12,000 jobs.

On average, states that voted for President Bush in 2004 are slated to
pick up 312 new jobs while Kerry-voting states will lose 1,179. Bush's
home state of Texas, which lost 6,981 jobs in the last realignment round,
has been recommended for gains of 6,150 this time around.

Republicans, angered that the process leading to base closures in 1995 was
tainted by politics and posturing, expressed relief that the latest round
was kept hidden behind heavy security at the Pentagon.

"This was the least political one I've been in," said Sen. Orrin Hatch,

Kelly Patterson, director of the Brigham Young University Center for the
Study of Elections and Democracy, cautioned against making political
conclusions from such correlations.

"There's kind of a standard moniker," he said. "Correlation isn't

The Pentagon report, which recommended shutting down about 180 military
facilities across the country, provoked elation and dismay across the

Civic and political leaders whose communities were targeted promised to
oppose the proposal.

"Today's decision by the Department of Defense is nothing short of
stunning, devastating, and above all, outrageous," Sen. Olympia Snowe,
R-Maine, told the Associated Press. "It is a travesty and a strategic
blunder of epic proportions."

Jim Hansen, the Base Realignment and Closure Commissioner and a former GOP
U.S. representative from Utah, insists there were no politics at play.

The bigger job losses by some states compared with others "is a
coincidence," Hansen said. "Those guys over in the Pentagon would be
scared to death to do anything like that. There's no way in the world to
do that."

Hansen recommended looking at past rounds of realignment for comparison.

In the last round of closures in 1995, for which former President Clinton
was harshly criticized, states that voted Democratic in 1992 lost an
average of 500 jobs per state. Republican-majority states lost an average
of 465 jobs.

Both groups lost jobs in the last round, with red states losing about half
as many as blue states, roughly proportional to the population difference
between the two groups.

The biggest winner in this round, Maryland, which would gain 9,293 jobs
under the Pentagon's proposal, was solidly Democratic in the last

There is another correlation observers are noting in the latest
realignment round, and it has little to do with geography or political

The Defense Department's plan appears to place an emphasis on continuing
to grow its combat forces, likely because of a post-Sept. 11 emphasis on
ground war fighting.


  Debbie Gray      dgray at uidaho.edu
  We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
  so as to have the life that is waiting for us." --Joseph Campbell

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