Monday, December 20, 2010

End the Year with START.

Somebody help me understand Republican Senators' excuses for opposing ratification of  new START.  They sound like kids' excuses for not doing their homework.  Senator Graham, for example, whined yesterday that the Senate has been kept so busy voting on other matters that Republicans haven't been given enough time to offer amendments, or to study the treaty, even though it has been sitting in the Capitol since April.  Senator Kyl complains that there is language in the preamble that could be construed as limiting missile defense, even though everyone who has studied the treaty agrees that it contains no legal prohibition on any efforts the United States might be planning in that regard.  John Kyl should really know better, because he is a distinguished attorney.  Attorneys understand that preambles to agreements are legally meaningless.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell practically admits that he is opposing the treaty just so that he will not hand another legislative victory to President Obama.  Here is the quote: "No senator should be forced to make decisions like this so we can tick off another item on someone's political checklist before the end of the year." Really, is that a good enough reason not to take action that would enhance national security?  A number of senators are upset that the treaty is being rushed through the closing days of the lame duck session.  Well, whose fault is that?  Maybe if the Republicans had not filibustered every single major piece of legislation during this Congress, and a lot of minor ones as well, this important treaty could have been dealt with sooner.

As far as substance, however, we haven't heard a single respectable critique of the treaty, and practically every expert on the subject, Republican or Democrat, has emphasized its critical importance.  Brent Scowcroft, for example, certainly no softie when it comes to dealing with the Russians, said that Republican opposition to this treaty is "baffling."
“It doesn’t tie our hands on missile defense,as the president has already demonstrated; we’re moving ahead on missile defense on Europe. There are things in the treaty people don’t like, but right now we have no oversight over what Russians are doing inside with their own nuclear systems . . . . This would restore that, so we can carry forward all the accounting, the rules, the assurances, the inspections -- all the things giving us the confidence to go ahead. Without those it seems to me we’re absolutely nowhere.”
Finally, for those who still think the Democratic Majority Leader shies away from bold or controversial statements, here is what Harry Reid  said about new START yesterday: "Soon this will come down to a simple choice: you either want to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, or you don’t."   It's time for enough Republican Senators to stop playing politics with this issue, and get it done.

(poster from Son of the South)

UPDATE (12/22/10):  Common sense prevails over politics as usual, and new START is ratified with four votes to spare, 71-26!


  1. My sentiments exactly! I read on politicususa earlier this week that, although DeMented is on the Foreign Relations Committee and the committee has held 6 meetings on the treaty, DeMented only attended 3 of them. He's whining because he wasn't in the committee meetings, but he shouldn't. If he was out fundraising and recruiting more tea party candidates to run for Congress, it's his fault that he hasn't read the treaty. Also, his comments make me wonder just why we're paying his staff members. I'm sure that at least one of them was made responsible for reviewing the treaty and briefing him on its contents.

    My conclusion is that DeMented, McConnell, and the other republicans who vote against this treaty simply haven't done their homework. What makes me sick about this is that they're drawing paychecks for not performing their duties while they rail against the poor receiving assistance and the unemployed having their payments extended for 13 months. They need to get serious and take a good long look in the nearest mirror to see who really has the entitlement mentality.

  2. Joe, it's politics as usual. Some of the same politics Dems will use in the next two years. It is what so many of us are so tired of. Sad, but true.

  3. That pic of Uncle Same and the message below it looks like a good Tattoo -- if I ever decide to get inked :-)

    To date I have resisted!

  4. START will pass. Up there, politicians know the numbers before we do. Their comments reflect that at times. Some members of Congress get a pass on certain votes and others are expected to speak out.

  5. Some of it is politics as usual, and some of it is Senators not doing their jobs, and Kevin is right that Senators usually know the vote counts long before we do, so that some of it is just for show. But some of the opposition to START is more worrisome. I finally saw the movie Fair Game tonight. One of the ironies shown in that movie is that while Dick Cheney was trying to discredit her husband, Valerie Plame was being prevented from performing her job, some of which involved trying to help Iraqi scientists escape, so that they would not be tempted to go work for Iran or another unfriendly regime. The war with Iraq was therefore defeating its entire intended premise. There is a lot of non-glamorous work involved in preventing weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands. That work involves taking care of scientists so that they don't go to work for unfriendly governments. It involves safeguarding supplies of weapons materials. And it involves a lot of other work that is the antithesis of what the Bush administration was doing, and what some of the Senate Republicans are still doing. Anyone who is truly interested in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons knows that the START treaty is vital to that end. Those who were opposed to the START treaty are still fighting the Cold War long after it is over, and have not woken up to what we need to do to protect national security in the future.

  6. I have considered numerous funny/cathartic names for members on both sides of the aile but refrain for two reasons:

    (1) out of respect for the wishes of our host (2) because flaming immediately closes a certain segment of the reader's minds.

  7. Well on the one hand, I do try to discourage name calling. I should have warned majii that calling the distinguished Senator from South Carolina DeMented is considered borderline, if not stepping over the border on this site.

    But on the other hand, I always appreciate funny. So I'll leave it up to your judgment what you want to post here, Kevin.

  8. Thanks Joe. I'll share one with you that made me smile.

    Steve Markowitz naming Janet Incompetano.

    From the Style Invitational:

    The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter (kind of), and supply a new definition. Some worthy winners include:

    Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

    Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and a bad end of e donkey.

    Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

    Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

    Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

    Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

    Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

    Glibido: All talk and no action.

    Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

    Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.