By Marc Kovac
Republican state Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel said Tuesday he would consider closing some overseas military bases and making other cuts as parts of a top-down review of federal spending.
“I think our defense spending needs to be much more efficient, and right now, I don’t think it maximizes efficiency,” he told reporters Tuesday.
Mandel made the comments during a press conference at a residence in an upscale suburban Columbus neighborhood, where he chastised Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown for being late to pay his property taxes on several occasions in recent years. The Brown campaign countered that he had misplaced his bill and paid it quickly after realizing the oversight.
Mandel was asked by reporters whether he would support extending tax cuts implemented under former President George W. Bush and set to expire at the end of the year.
Mandel said he would support an extension but also emphasized the need for spending cuts, including military spending in general and overseas bases in particular.
“One of the places I believe we should start is Europe,” he said. “We’re not fighting the Nazis anymore. We’re not fighting the Cold War anymore. We have all these bases, though, throughout Germany and throughout Italy and throughout Europe. And I believe, through doing a top-bottom review of a lot of those installations, we’ll see opportunities for cuts and the trim-down or shutdown of some of those installations.”
He added, “And I believe we can do that without at all compromising the national security of our country.”
Mandel also said he supports investing in military technology, including unmanned military vehicles, which can be used as a “force multiplier to close with and destroy the enemy without putting any young men and women at risk on the ground.”
One thing Mandel said he would not skimp on: having Marines guarding U.S. facilities around the world, in light of recent attacks overseas.
“I respectfully and fundamentally and strongly disagree with the Obama administration asking foreign governments whether or not it’s OK for us to put Marines at our embassies and consulates. ... Whether or not the host country wants us, they should be there to protect our interests and protect our citizens.”
Asked for the campaign’s response to Mandel’s comments, Brown spokesman Justin Barasky offered, “It seems there’s literally nothing Josh Mandel won’t do to ensure that millionaires and billionaires continue getting massive tax cuts.”