Monday, November 22, 2010

Obama Botches START Treaty Ratification With GOP

President Obama is fond of quoting and using Ronald Reagan references in his speeches when he wants Republicans to get on board with something. Now he would like the Senate to play ball and ratify the START Treaty during this lame duck session.

Obama mentioned Ronald Reagan four times in his weekly address, noting that when the Republican president signed a nuclear arms treaty with the Soviet Union in 1987 he said, “trust but verify.”

“That is precisely what the New START Treaty does,” the president said of the new nuclear treaty that he signed with Russian President Medvedev in April.

“After nearly a full year of negotiations, we completed an agreement earlier this year that cuts by a third the number of long-range nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles that the United States and Russia can deploy, while ensuring that America retains a strong nuclear deterrent, and can put inspectors back on the ground in Russia.”

Republicans, feeling the pressure of voters who turned out in record numbers for a mid-term election and delivered a solid Republican victory night, are leery of the President's claims that the treaty must be ratified "quickly" by the Senate. His rush to legislate has put us in the continuing mess we experience today.

In recent days, Obama has publicly raised the stakes for Republicans opposed to the treaty, which allows U.S. inspectors to monitor Russian arsenals during the nuclear disarmament process. This week, flanked by an impressive roster of American foreign policy titans — including prominent Republicans — Obama pressured the Senate to act while demonstrating strong bipartisan backing for the treaty.Read more:

And, by the way, why hasn't Obama learned yet that "chiding" is not the same as persuading the opposition party to come to your side of an agreement?

The treaty was signed last April. There are 59 Democratic Senators serving now. Why has the treaty just now been the sole foreign policy focus for Obama's administration? Because it really isn't such a top priority? Because now that the mid-term election results are in, the Democratic majority has shrunk and pushing everything is mandatory before the new session begins?

Senator Kyl is a respected member who thoughtfully contemplates legislation. He is not some glory hound looking to get headlines for opposing the President. Administration officials - anonymous, of course - send out talking points and are ramping up the pressure on Kyl.

We’re hearing from Senator Kyl that we came too late with this offer, we don’t have enough time to study it. It’s quite an extraordinary thing, showing the budget to Congress three months early, I don’t think it’s ever been done before. And two days after we finalized the numbers, we flew a team to Arizona to see him and present it to him for three hours. So now he says we are ‘too late,’ when it was he who laid out the schedule,” one senior administration official said.

We will soon know if the vote happens or not in the lame duck session.

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