Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is the most high-profile holdover from the Bush Administration, and it appears as if he’s found a new level of comfort in the Obama Administration:

Gates is taking on the pet projects that for some reason don’t get described as pork by some on the right, mostly because the project may have some remote connection to national defense. Pork is pork, whether its Porky Pig, Babe, Miss Piggy or some ten-years-over-deadline and millions-of-dollars-over-budget defense project, and Gates certainly sees things that way:

Undaunted, the legislators pressed their case – especially the Republicans, who seemed convinced, as one said, that the Pentagon budget was part of a nefarious Obama Administration plot: “Fiscal restraint for defense and fiscal largesse for everything else.” Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona was very concerned about anti-missile defense – a gold-plated pipe dream, if there ever was one – and especially a product dramatically called the Kinetic Energy Interceptor. To which Gates replied, in a manner so casually dismissive that Franks seemed to shrivel in his seat, “I would just say that the security of the American people and the efficacy of missile defense are not enhanced by continuing to put money into programs … that are essentially sinkholes for taxpayer dollars.”

And if the Senate didn’t think he was serious, check this out:

Rat-a-tat, Gates continued on, in that flat, unassuming Kansas twang that screams: No bull here. The next day, testifying on the Senate side, Gates performed a similar anti-missile evisceration of Senator Jeff Sessions, who responded, “I’d say you were ready for that question.”

Don’t get me wrong, national defense is an area I am definately more conservative than liberal, but the fiscal conservative in me sees the defense budget as a place rife with pork, special interests, and waste.

I am pretty happy to see General Gates reporting for duty, and instead of hunting wabbits, he’s hunting piggies.