There is simply no modern precedent for the behavior of Republicans in the U.S. Senate. They are not only hyper-partisan, but they are also petty, petulant and unpatriotic, willing to jeopardize national security if they think they can hurt President Obama. Witness their growing resistance to a nuclear pact with Russia, the New START treaty.
The pact represents minimilist, mainstream downsizing of the nuclear weapons arsenals of the United States and Russia, a continuation of policies first envisioned by none other than Ronald Reagan. New START has been endorsed by every living secretary of state. That includes, obviously, Condoleezza Rice. George H.W. Bush has endorsed it.
But Republicans continue to come up with excuses, including an insistence that Obama is trying to “jam” the treaty through a lame duck session without giving them enough time to consider it. The treaty was signed by the U.S. and Russia in April; they’ve had months to read it.
Some Republicans, such as Jon Kyl of Arizona, claim the Obama administration hasn’t set aside enough money to modernize our remaining nuclear weapons. That, too, is nonsense, according to Linton Brooks, who ran the National Nuclear Security Administration under George W. Bush. Brooks said (via ThinkProgress)
you’ll hear concerns by some that the treaty may or may not be a good idea but you can’t possibly accept it because the U.S. nuclear weapons program is in disarray. And I think the administration’s answer to that is the fiscal 2011 budget with a very substantial increase for my former home, the National Nuclear Security Administration. And I will say flatly, I ran that place for five years and I’d have killed for that budget and that much high-level attention in the administration and I just – nobody in government ever said “my program has too much money” and I doubt that my successor is busy saying that. But he is very happy with his program and I think it does put us on a very firm, firm basis… I don’t think there’s any question this is in our interest and should be ratified.
So, what’s really going on with GOP opposition? They don’t want to give President Obama another victory (even if it also means a victory for the United States). There have been a few too many end-of-year stories written that depict Obama rising from the ashes, with the end of DADT and a stimulus package as a result of the tax deal.
As Mitch McConnell has said, his number one priority is making sure Obama doesn’t have a second term. He doesn’t care how much damage he does to the national interest in pursuing that goal.