[W]hat if there were an agency that was genuinely trying to cut wasteful spending, but kept being forced by Congress to buy expensive things it didn't want? What if that agency's budget really did amount to a substantial portion of federal spending? What if that agency's director's efforts to rationalise its spending were constantly being frustrated by a combination of industry contractors, lobbyists, its own renegade bureaucrats and officers, and congressional representatives? What if said director enjoyed the full support of the White House, and had asked the president to veto the budget if Congress kept the unwanted spending in? And what if that agency were housed in a building with, say, five sides? That might be an interesting way to use a line-item veto. Just sayin'.
The defense budget would be an excellent place to use that new veto power. The military-industrial complex is in full swing these days. Gates can use all the help he can get.