Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New litmus test for discovering who puts their party before their country: the START treaty

Our fewer-nukes treaty with Russia passed over the No votes of the vast majority of Congressional Republicans, despite it being supported in its present form by numerous moderate Republicans, every living Secretary of State of both parties, nonpartisan arms control experts, our military leadership's nukes experts, and that famous so-shul-ist Henry Kissinger.

If ever there was a Mom & Apple Pie issue this was it. Yet the Republican Party proved not just how extremist it has become--but also conservative it isn't. This was an issue that was supported by anyone who was a sane conservative (as opposed to people who call themselves "Conservatives"--you've heard the self-sanctifying way they say the word as if it makes them perfection personified). 

And the emotionalism of their approach was demonstrated by their arguments against it--as if the real issue was some sort of contest to see  which nations' leaders had bigger male organs. The Republican leadership sounded like those "male enhancement" ads you hear on late-nite cable TV.

It was especially disappointing to see Lindsay Graham join the whirly-eyes' side on this.

In my book every politician who opposed passing this this week is either a poltroon (great word!) or a political extremist who firmly puts his cause before his country. Not traitors--just disloyal.

I should add that their paragon, Ronald Reagan, would have done the same thing Obama did.

And if having the treaty on their desks for six months wasn't long enough, they need to get into a remedial reading class.

This is a great issue to use to discover if your friends who say their conservative really are, or if they just use the term as a tribal ID word.


Sean said...

This issue is easily clouded by partisan politics, and that makes it frustrating. I can only think that the primary reason behind the treaty's opposition was to deny Obama credit for a political win. However, it's easy to for the main points of the treaty to be clouded. In the end, the only convincing evidence that this treaty is a good deal for Americans in that Republicans who voted on the issue seem to be well informed on the issue enough to put partisan bickering aside in order to pass something important. It's easy for opponents to say that the US has the short end of the stick regarding the treaty, because those who listen to them will never go through the treaty, line-by-line.

And therein lies my problem with today's politics: I feel that even before I can decide on the merit of any upcoming political issue, I have to think about who stands to gain/lose from it. So yeah, I'd agree that the START treaty is a good litmus test. Wouldn't it be nice if we could actually trust elected officials to do what's right?

Ehkzu said...

re: who you can trust

I look for pols who are willing to defy their own party poo-bahs (who don't just have oppositional defiance disorder!)--in both parties, to be sure.

I look for pols who don't show up on rogue's gallery of "pants on fire" persistent prevaricators.

I also look for pols from the rare swing districts and swing states, who must be centrist to be re-elected.

And I look for pols who don't resort to demagoguic talking points in interviews and debates.

Signs of intelligence wouldn't hurt either. Advanced degrees can't hurt, but there are other signs of course.

But pervasive gerrymandering and campaign financing issues have forced even smart pols into partisan corners just to hang onto their jobs,

n1ck said...

Anymore, if 5 Senate Republicans break party ranks and vote with the Democrats on anything, you can be pretty sure it would be a bill that would pass 90-10 if a Republican were in the White House.

That 13 Republicans actually voted against their party? Monumental showing of how easy the issue actually was. 13 Senate Republicans just gave in to voting for their beliefs and rather for party. Maybe Obama isn't finished as a politician just yet.