It seems to me that one of the biggest differences between the current budget battle and the budget wars of the past (specifically the 1980s through Bill Clinton's first term) is the extent to which that Democrats have accepted current levels of military spending. Yet my impression is that the underlying public opinion hasn't changed much: Democratic voters would support deep cuts in defense spending, while overall defense spending cuts are relatively a lot more popular than cuts to most domestic spending.
Why do you think Democrats are not demanding lower military spending? Is it, in your view, because Democratic policy elites have shifted their (honestly held) views? Is it because Democratic politicians are more afraid now (perhaps as a consequence of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) of the political dangers of being "weak" on defense? Is it because of changes in the Democratic coalition? Changes in the relationship of Democratic politicians to military contracters? (Note on the latter two -- it has to be about changes, if it's producing a changed result). Some other reason?