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Republicans Try to Shoot Down START

December 20th, 2010

Despite the fact that five former Republican secretaries of state–Powell, Kissinger, Shultz, Baker, and Eagleburger–as well as George H. W. Bush are all on record as saying that the new START treaty is good and will make the world safer, Republicans in the Senate are making sounds about voting down the treaty.

Why? According to Mitch McConnell:

Republican senators are “uneasy” about the treaty, and trying to get a vote before Christmas was not the best way to “get the support of people like me,” McConnell said.

He makes it sound like this was just suddenly thrown at the Senate and they’re flustered about whether or not it’s good enough. Despite having had eight months since the treaty was signed to study the treaty, 18 Senate committee hearings (12 by the Foreign Relations Committee), dozens of witnesses, thousands of questions asked, a National Intelligence Estimate, and a State Department report and analysis all confirming that the treaty is sound and we should sign it. The former Republican president and five Republican secretaries of state endorsing the bill are just the cherry on top.

But Republicans don’t like the timing of how it’s being pitched to them. Bullshit. If they’re not fully briefed on the treaty, then it’s due to their own incompetence. What else?

Their main substantive objection is that the treaty would limit America’s ability to deploy missile defense systems. Ah, well that sounds important, and could be a real sticking point, right? Well, if the objections were based in reality, yes. Of course, they’re not–the Republican claims are thoroughly debunked here.

What Republicans are doing in the Senate smacks of political game-playing. They are trying to get changes made to the preamble of the treaty–which is legally non-binding and would have no effect on our obligations–and other changes that would necessitate going back and renegotiating the treaty with Russia, throwing a rather significant wrench into our nuclear security options.

The fact that the objections are rather transparently false, and the way the Republicans are doing this, suggest pretty clearly that they are not interested in national security so much as they want to deprive Obama of another achievement and create the impression that they were responsible for making the treaty actually work.

“Country First” indeed.

  1. Tim Kane
    December 21st, 2010 at 01:15 | #1

    The Republican party is a destructive ban of traitors. Country first? Howabout country f*cked… by them, or more like raped, pillaged and looted and left thrown and abandoned in the gutter by the side of the road.

    The wrecking crew strikes again.

  2. December 21st, 2010 at 19:50 | #2

    The only purpose of all these objections is to diminish the victory of President Obama once the treaty has been ratified. The Republicans can’t bear the idea of the current administration basking in the success of a job well done.

  3. Luis
    December 21st, 2010 at 20:29 | #3

    Pretty much. To both above comments. They seem incapable of simply doing what is best for the country. If McCain were in office and doing the exact same things, they would be voting unilaterally for all of it. Even the health care plan is a near-carbon copy to what they proposed years back, but because it came from the Democrats now it’s poison that will destroy the country. So, what else do you call people who vote down a slew of measures they know the country needs, only for political gain?

  4. Troy
    December 23rd, 2010 at 01:55 | #4

    These are the people the voters are sending into office.

    They are not “traitors”, treason is a very well-defined crime.

    If politics is seen as a football game, then preventing the other side from scoring makes perfect strategic sense

    Every success the other side scores is something they can run on against you in the next election.

    And We The People are really too stupid to see this.

    The problem isn’t the republican politicians, it’s the republican voters.

  5. Luis
    December 23rd, 2010 at 10:12 | #5

    They are not “traitors”, treason is a very well-defined crime. If politics is seen as a football game, then preventing the other side from scoring makes perfect strategic sense
    Unless you’re being ironic, you seem to have made the point that they are traitors. To take your analogy to a more specific degree, if we see politics as a football game, we’re all on the same team (other countries are other teams)–it’s just that there are two coaches who each have the support of roughly half the team and are always vying for head coach position, which changes from time to time.

    When the coach changes to the one we don’t like, we still should play as hard as we can, so that the team wins. If we don’t like the coach, we may criticize, grumble, or even actively campaign to change coaches–but we damned well better play our best to win.

    The problem is, the other half of the team thinks differently. When the coach they don’t like is in control, they are quite content to throw games and trash the team’s success so that the coach they don’t like will look bad and the one they want gets put back in the top position.

    If “traitor” or “treason” is defined as betraying one’s own country/team, then I think Republicans in Congress appropriately fit the bill. Hell, some of them even speak openly of overthrowing the government, another way to fulfill the definition. Even if you don’t like the coach, you never throw the game and harm the team.

  6. Troy
    December 23rd, 2010 at 17:36 | #6

    Blocking progress is not treason. Plenty of Americans WANT the current course of government policies “blocked” and “harmed”.

    Treason is selling out one’s country to foreign enemies.

    Generally, traitors earn the death penalty, for good reason.

    This is a political problem and whining about obstructionism it isn’t going to fix things. We need to re-convince the American people that the Republicans are full of it about everything. They seem to have forgotten, well, 25% of them that aren’t partisan Party-first peeps like our friend GK.

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