On New START, GOP leaders put politics before patriotism

WASHINGTON — Condoleezza Rice believes the U.S. Senate should ratify a new arms control treaty with Russia. So does her successor, Hillary Clinton. Henry Kissinger wants it, as does Madeleine Albright.

Sen. Dick Lugar, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is a high-profile supporter of the treaty. So is former Sen. Sam Nunn, a Georgia Democrat who once worked with Lugar to create a program to dismantle nuclear weapons.

That all-star backing for the New START treaty would seem to suggest that its ratification will be a simple matter. You’d think conservative Republicans, after learning that current and former military leaders also back New START, would find the treaty an easy call to bi-partisanship.

Well, you’d be wrong.  A contingent of GOP Senators has decided that the opportunity to weaken President Obama abroad and embarrass him at home is more important than patriotic duty. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Senate Republicans’ point man on the treaty, announced last week that he will block a vote on the pact.

This isn’t what you’d expect from a “loyal” opposition. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was not exactly subtle in declaring the most important goal for Senate Republicans — stopping Obama from gaining a second term.

“It seems some of our friends on the conservative side need to ask themselves the question, ‘Are we really putting U.S. security first?’ ” said Nunn, who now heads a Washington-based, non-partisan outfit called the Nuclear Threat Initiative. “Those who are trying to shoot Obama, the bullet is going to go right through Obama and shoot U.S. credibility in the world.”

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has called the treaty “essential to our future security.” The old Soviet Union is dead, but Russia remains a critical player on the world stage. We need its help to keep secure supply routes into Afghanistan and, most important, the U.S. needs Russia to help rein in Iran. If the U.S. ratifies the treaty, our relationship with Russia will be strengthened.

But for those ultra-conservatives who tend toward unilateralism — who believe the United States can conduct her affairs without allies — there is still another critical reason to ratify the treaty: Without it, the U.S. has no ability to send inspectors to check on the Russian nuclear arsenal. The old START treaty, which gave Russia and the United States each the right to inspect the other’s nuclear weapons, expired last December.

The end of that agreement has persuaded Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) to support New START. “We’ve gone 19 years with our own agents being able, at no notice, to verify Russia’s weapons,” he told me.

“We learned a lesson on 9/11 about what happens when we don’t have human intelligence. At a time when we’re trying to get transparency of some type on Iran, to turn our backs on the transparency we’ve had for 19 years doesn’t make sense.”

But the weaken-Obama-at-all-costs crowd continues to hold out, claiming, among other things, that the treaty would interfere with our ability to modernize our nuclear weapons. It wouldn’t. Obama has pledged $84 billion over ten years to modernize, considerably more than his predecessor spent and, probably, considerably more than is needed.

Some critics also contend that the treaty would limit the ability of the United States to defend itself. That’s just not so. Both Russia and the U.S. would retain enough nukes to “basically destroy each other and destroy a large part of the Earth, God’s creation,” Nunn pointed out.

Perhaps the oddest thing about Republican opposition is this: It is an approach to Russia’s nuclear arsenal endorsed by Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the modern conservative movement. The very first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — or START — was proposed by Reagan, who also popularized the phrase “trust but verify.”

According to ultra-conservative stalwart Pat Buchanan, Reagan would have supported this new pact. In a recent column, Buchanan wrote, “. . .Simply because this treaty is ‘Obama’s treaty’ does not mean it is not in America’s interest.”

But for many in the current GOP leadership, signing on to “Obama’s treaty” would not be in their short-term political interest. And, unfortunately, that’s more important to them than their duty to their country.

248 comments Add your comment

Mitch

November 24th, 2010
7:05 am

The second time that I have ever agreed with you.

Jimmy62

November 24th, 2010
7:09 am

I don’t know enough about this to comment on START specifically. But I do know that if an official genuinely believes that Obama is bad for the country in both the short and long term, then opposing him whenever possible (and sensible, this instance may not be, however) IS being the loyal opposition. Loyal to the country.

Sean

November 24th, 2010
7:18 am

This is just the start of how things are going to be in Washington for the next 2 years. To many republicans Obama is the anti-christ,

Obama is nieve to believe that any republican will do much of anything in the name of bi-partisanship.

Martin the Calvinist

November 24th, 2010
7:18 am

I don’t trust the Russians, not that I don’t agree less nukes is a good thing, but even if we ratify this treaty; the Russians have an opt out. There isn’t one on our side. I think one thing that has been a reason for the Repub’s resistance is the fact many of them view Obama’s actions as weakening us. BTW Cynthia, every move politicians make are political. They only make decisions based on what is good for them and their prestige and power enhancement. Sorry, politics brings out the cynic in me.

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
7:19 am

Are we sure that we are making the treaty with the right people?

After all, we just paid off a “Taliban Leader” that was actually a complete impostor in Pakistan.

And . .
Since it’s now OK if the government literally has their hands in our underwear, are the wiretaps now OK?

It’s hard to keep up. Waterboarding was a crime that Bush needs to be tried for, but now we are sending our prisoners to other countries where they are REALLY tortured.

The pictures where Obama is made up like a clown are looking more appropriate every day.

granny godzilla

November 24th, 2010
7:21 am

Damn those GOP leaders for their stupid selfish childish behavior.

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
7:21 am

Sean

- -To many republicans Obama is the anti-christ,- -

Do a little reading. The anti-Christ is supposed to battle Christ. That skinny frightened little man is not going to be staging a battle with Christ.

Bob

November 24th, 2010
7:28 am

Dick Lugar knows nothing, he was against Obamacare. Rice is a war criminal to the left, now you want to listen to her. If Obo’s people can do no better than groping kids and granny at the airports, he should be shot down at every turn. Obama is a liar, like many, let him fail at start like he did at G20.

TnGelding

November 24th, 2010
7:38 am

So, what else is new? They’re seditionists (or worse), plain and simple. One of them needs to be charged as a test case.

From Wiki:

In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition.

Typically, sedition is considered a subversive act, and the overt acts that may be prosecutable under sedition laws vary from one legal code to another. Where the history of these legal codes has been traced, there is also a record of the change in the definition of the elements constituting sedition at certain points in history. This overview has served to develop a sociological definition of sedition as well, within the study of state persecution.

The difference between sedition and treason consists primarily in the subjective ultimate object of the violation to the public peace. Sedition does not consist of levying war against a government nor of adhering to its enemies, giving enemies aid, and giving enemies comfort. Nor does it consist, in most representative democracies, of peaceful protest against a government, nor of attempting to change the government by democratic means (such as direct democracy or constitutional convention).

Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power. Treason is the violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or state, giving aid to enemies, or levying war against one’s state. Sedition is encouraging one’s fellow citizens to rebel against their state, whereas treason is actually betraying one’s country by aiding and abetting another state. Sedition laws somewhat equate to terrorism and public order laws.

From Merriam-Webster:

Definition of NAIVE

1: marked by unaffected simplicity : artless, ingenuous

2a : deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment; especially : credulous b : not previously subjected to experimentation or a particular experimental situation ; also : not having previously used a particular drug (as marijuana) c : not having been exposed previously to an antigen

3a : self-taught, primitive b : produced by or as if by a self-taught artist

Cynthia, you need to allow links on your site!

AFret

November 24th, 2010
7:38 am

No suprise, Tucker. I just don’t understand how the GOP is to blame for making Obama look weak at home. He has already embarassed the U.S. by cowering to every foreign nation he has visited. The only president to bow to other officals. Did he not embarass himself when making the comment on the wrong number of states the U.S. has. I guess that was the GOP’s fault. What about the “There is only one president in America” comment. I thought he was president of the U.S., not America. Last time I looked at a globe, there are a lot of nations in America. But, I guess with his ego, he is probably president of the world. Again, GOP is to blame, or at least Bush!! Oh, and the he does have you in his corner, that’s probably not an embarassment or a sign of weakness.

TnGelding

November 24th, 2010
7:41 am

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
7:19 am

Now? Yeah, like it just started. We’ve always been able to talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. Rules and regs are for others, not the Greatest Country in the History of the World!

TnGelding

November 24th, 2010
7:43 am

Obama is well respected on the world stage, but would be even more so if the GOP would stop its petty carping.

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
7:43 am

Sean
- -Obama is nieve to believe that any republican will do much of anything in the name of bi-partisanship. – - -

And this is the same Obama who called Republicans “The Enemy” and said they should set “in the back”.

That Obama?

Grow a clue.

Peadawg

November 24th, 2010
7:46 am

“Obama is nieve to believe that any republican will do much of anything in the name of bi-partisanship.”

The same Obama who said, “We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”? Ya Obama was bi-partisanship alright… :roll:

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
7:47 am

TnGelding

So what are you talking about this time?

In case you need a civics lesson, the democrats are still in charge.

And who respects Obama? They treated him like hired help at the G20. They would have given him more respect if he had been parking their cars.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 24th, 2010
7:49 am

We are conscious of the leftist stampede to get a meaningless treaty ratified as the supreme law of the land before year end, even though the administration has failed to address the reasonable questions John Kyl has been asking for more than six months.

One wonders how the treaty offers any benefit to the US. The treaty omits the 10,000 tactical nukes recently built by Russia, which are its currency in arms sales to rogue nations. Otherwise Russia presents no risk to the US, and the US has no intention of bombing Russia.

The most significant question to be addressed is the dispute between the administration and Russia: whether the US can withdraw from the treaty. Although there is language within the treaty seeminlgy giving either side a chance to disengage for defensive reasons, Russia affirms loudly and longly that the treaty precludes US development of any meaningful or new missile defense system. Hard to see how this treaty thus offers any protection to the US.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 24th, 2010
7:50 am

Otherwise the essay is typical leftism: “pass this treaty because overlords say to do so,” and “anyone who opposes immediate unilateral surrender is unpatriotic.” Pap.

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
7:51 am

C Tucker

Quote of the day, coming from the democrats:

- -‘Are we really putting U.S. security first?’ ”- -

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.

Our security? But there’s no threat, right? It’s just s scam to take away our rights, isn’t it?

It is absolutely amazing The hypocrisy of the left.

Call it like it is

November 24th, 2010
7:51 am

See Bookman blog from 3 days ago on same subject for comments.

TnGelding

November 24th, 2010
7:55 am

Why would we want to spend money modernizing weapons we can’t use?

granny godzilla

November 24th, 2010
7:56 am

And damn the followers of the GOP leaders who continue to do the bidding of their masters to the detriment of our nation.

Sedition is right.

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
7:57 am

TnGelding

Why would we want to spend a trillion dollars on a health care bill that helps almost no one but the Insurance companies?

Interesting note

November 24th, 2010
7:58 am

But the Repubs got their earmarks in early. Did ANYONE believe otherwise. More deficit spending from the LEADERS in DEFICIT spending.

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
7:58 am

granny

The democrats still have the majority in Congress. Why would it matter what the GOP wants?

travelingman141

November 24th, 2010
7:59 am

Cynthia Tucker and Granny Godzilla are members of the National African American Communist Party. (NAACP). OH ITS TRUE……

Call it like it is

November 24th, 2010
8:00 am

granny godzilla

November 24th, 2010
7:56 am
And damn the followers of the GOP leaders who continue to do the bidding of their masters to the detriment of our nation

And just who would be their masters be?

barking frog

November 24th, 2010
8:01 am

We need a new START now! nahh not so much.

TnGelding

November 24th, 2010
8:01 am

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
7:57 am

In perspective, we’re going to be spending about $30 trillion over that same period, so a trillion isn’t that much more, but I agree. But it certainly isn’t socialized medicine. It was a sellout to the medical care industry. Has very little to do with health care.

AmVet

November 24th, 2010
8:05 am

I just don’t understand how the GOP is to blame for making Obama look weak at home.

You do not understand a great deal.

He has already embarassed (sic) the U.S. by cowering to every foreign nation he has visited.

Lie #1.

The only president to bow to other officals.

Grow up. (See Bush hand holding and kissing Saudi royalty.)

Did he not embarass (sic again) himself when making the comment on the wrong number of states the U.S. has.

Grow up again. (And where’s the question mark?)

I guess that was the GOP’s fault.

The GOP is faultless.

What about the “There is only one president in America” comment. I thought he was president of the U.S., not America. Last time I looked at a globe, there are a lot of nations in America. But, I guess with his ego, he is probably president of the world.

Hair-splitting childishness.

Again, GOP is to blame, or at least Bush!!

Again, they are to blame for nothing. You clowns gave them a free pass. For everything. For years on end.

Have a great day.

granny godzilla

November 24th, 2010
8:05 am

and damn the bloggers who obfuscate

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
8:07 am

TnGelding

A trillion isn’t that much more? You didn’t really say that did you?

And yes, it was a sellout that we will be paying for until we die.

mystified

November 24th, 2010
8:10 am

Maybe this is wishful thinking…But Maybe…just maybe, these legislators actually oppose the measure and are voting the way they believe they should. It could be….that everything isn’t about Obama’s image in the world.

Obama’s back of the bus comment will forever exemplify that man’s attitude toward the opposition. The fact that he actually said it shows us his level of wisdom. He has nobody to blame but himself for his lack of support from anyone.

He is the president and worthy of the respect due that office, but he is not proving to be much of a leader.

Moderate Line

November 24th, 2010
8:12 am

“It seems some of our friends on the conservative side need to ask themselves the question, ‘Are we really putting U.S. security first?’ ” said Nunn, who now heads a Washington-based, non-partisan outfit called the Nuclear Threat Initiative. “Those who are trying to shoot Obama, the bullet is going to go right through Obama and shoot U.S. credibility in the world.”
++++++
A more balanced argument is from The Hill which mentions specific issues that that the Republicans have.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/126161-midterm-election-fallout-could-derail-start-treaty-vote-key-republican-says

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 24th, 2010
8:14 am

Dear TriGelding @ 7:38, “They’re seditionists (or worse), plain and simple. One of them needs to be charged as a test case.” May be tough since there is no sedition law on the books. There is also a moral problem with your argument, described in Wikipedia:

Vice President Thomas Jefferson denounced the Sedition Act as invalid and a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights, which protected the right of free speech, and a violation of the Tenth Amendment [1][2], arguing that:
1. …the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government…
2. …“the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” therefore the {Sedition Act is} altogether void…

Jefferson more strongly argued the Federal Government had overstepped its limits in the Alien and Sedition Acts by attempting to exercise unjust powers. Virginia and Kentucky passed resolutions (secretly penned by Jefferson and James Madison) openly denouncing the acts; Federalist-dominated state legislatures rejected Jefferson’s position through resolutions either supporting the Acts or denying the ability of Virginia and Kentucky to circumvent them.

As Congress debated the law’s provisions, one argument made in its favor was that the country was witnessing instances of mob and vigilante behavior that represented the public’s own attempt to punish unpopular speech in light of the government’s inability to do so. The Sedition Act, it was argued, would prevent mobs from doing what the government could not.[8] While much of the debate focused on the law’s precise language, there was considerable opposition in the Senate, almost entirely from Republicans like Henry Cabot Lodge and Hiram Johnson, the former speaking in defense of free speech and the latter assailing the administration for failing to use the laws already in place.[9] Former president Theodore Roosevelt voiced opposition as well.[10] President Wilson and his Attorney General Thomas Watt Gregory viewed the bill as a political compromise. They hoped to avoid hearings that would embarrass the administration for its failure to prosecute offensive speech. They also feared other proposals that would have withdrawn prosecutorial authority from the Justice Department and placed it in the War Department, creating a sort of civilian court-martial process of questionable constitutionality.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Sedition Act in Abrams v. United States,[19] but subsequent Supreme Court decisions, such as Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969, make it unlikely that similar legislation would be considered constitutional today.

Congress repealed the Sedition Act on December 13, 1920.

Nothing Is Free

November 24th, 2010
8:15 am

AmVet

- -You clowns gave them a free pass. For everything. For years on end.- -

You clowns are giving them a free pass. For everything. Except our free passes were about wire taps and yours is about putting hands in children’s under-roos in a public place.

Ours were about waterboarding and yours is about sending the prisoners to other countries where they will be tortured.

Ours were about cheaper drugs for seniors and yours is about The Health Insurance Company Enrichment Act of 2010.

Ours were about Bush trying to open a locked door in China and yours is about him being sent home from the G20 after being laughed out of the room for printing 600 billion in unsupported currency to lower the value of the dollar BEFORE negotiating with Europe.

Ours was about 4.7% unemployment and yours is about years of unemployment at almost 10% with no end in sight.

barking frog

November 24th, 2010
8:17 am

I fail to see the damage to the Obama reelection campaign
that will be done by failing to renew the START treaty with
Russia. Maybe I’m a victim of the obfuscaters.

Call it like it is

November 24th, 2010
8:17 am

Ahh good times Granny is damning everybody and AmVet has now become the internet spelling police………. Both of you take deep breaths, finish your metamucil and come back and play later.

ctucker

November 24th, 2010
8:19 am

Moderate Line@8:12, Because this post also appears in print, I didn’t have room to quote everything Nunn said. But he also pointed out that every substantive complaint from the GOP has been addressed. Every single one.

barking frog

November 24th, 2010
8:20 am

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 24th, 2010
8:14 am
Dear TriGelding
—————————-
I don’t believe you can be a Tri Gelding unless you are
highly unusual.

Thanks

November 24th, 2010
8:26 am

I agree with Cynthia Tucker, but that’s not at all unusual. I’m not likely to question her politics now after so many years of service to social justice but I do understand the counterpoint that brays so loudly from the Right:

Our earnestly-industrious Founding Fathers were proudly pro-business, so they did not use pseudonyms when they signed the philatelist-inspired Declaration of Independence and risked the necktie-party with the business-unfriendly King. (RSVP!) Today, fairly-lazy, yet cunning Darjeelingists’ backlash against Barack Obama is a barometer of the back-to-the-future, deja-vu view that lazze-faire economic policy, even it if results in catastrophe,(Bear Sterns et al), provides more growth and security.

The democrats have to understand that experiments in entitlements like Mao’s Cultural Revolution are as effective as Moe, Larry and Curly’s foray into High Society in episode 39: Everyone involved ended up with pie on their face. Thus socialism’s entitlementalists have no viable alternative but to duck, (saucily)..

We are stuck with unbridled capitalism and the accompanying wars that will ultimately destroy us. The point here is that if we nuke Korea and Iran now we probably will win, with maybe 20 million Americans and Allies killed, 50 million tops. But we have to strike now, today.

The bombing will begin in five minutes.

Think of the growth.

quod erat demonstrandum

November 24th, 2010
8:32 am

Smoke screen alert !!!

This is a lame duck session – let us leave the important work until after the current tax codes are extended.

Treaties can be ratified in the next Congress.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 24th, 2010
8:35 am

Dear CTurcker @ 8:19, “Nunn said …. every substantive complaint from the GOP has been addressed. Every single one.” My question to you: does the treaty preclude research into something like SDI? The Russians say yes.

[...] post by steaksyl and software by Elliott Back No Comments [...]

Gator Joe

November 24th, 2010
8:49 am

Cynthia,
The reasons for GOP opposition to the treaty are it doesn’t contain a tax cut favoring the wealthy, ratification may be a reason to spend less with defense contractors, it would give President Obama a percieved legislative accomplishment, and, oh yes, Fox “News” doesn’t approve of their supporting it.

Thanks

November 24th, 2010
8:52 am

Since when does american foreign policy include a path to peace? we are a democratic republic front for a total corporate sanctuary.

Either understand that or go join the commies, man.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 24th, 2010
8:52 am

Dear Gator Joe @ 8:49, does the treaty preclude research into something like SDI? The Russians say yes. Why would we totally disarm ourselves as the Iranians and NorKs ramp up their capacities for mass destruction?

quod erat demonstrandum

November 24th, 2010
8:53 am

This is just another leftie attempt to whine and b*tch about the conservatives.

It is another Potemkin village.

Carlosgvv

November 24th, 2010
8:56 am

Call it like it is

The Republicans are owned by the big corporate special interests. Their one and only alligence is to them. You are one of these people who cannot see the forest for the trees. Wake Up!!!

quod erat demonstrandum

November 24th, 2010
9:03 am

Carlosgvv,

How do you think America climbed to the top of the industrialized world?

How do you think we generate 25% of the worlds wealth?

How do you think the 90% that are employed feel about working for a large corporation?

You socialistic leaning whimps are pathetic.

granny godzilla

November 24th, 2010
9:08 am

damn the mindless who don’t know socialism from the society pages….