President Obama’s hopes of ratifying a new arms control treaty with Russia this year appeared to unravel on Tuesday as a Senate Republican leader moved to block a vote in what could be a devastating blow to the president’s most tangible foreign policy achievement.
Mr. Obama had declared ratification of the New Start treaty his “top priority” in foreign affairs for the lame-duck session of Congress that opened this week. But the chances of winning the two-thirds vote required for passage of the treaty appeared to collapse with the announcement by Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate and the party’s point man on the issue, that the Senate should not vote on it this year.
“When Majority Leader Harry Reid asked me if I thought the treaty could be considered in the lame-duck session, I replied I did not think so given the combination of other work Congress must do and the complex and unresolved issues related to Start and modernization,” Mr. Kyl said in a statement. The senator added that he would continue to negotiate with administration officials for a possible vote next year.
A failure to approve the treaty in the departing Senate could undermine Mr. Obama’s broader campaign to curb nuclear weapons and eventually eliminate them. The treaty, which would trim American and Russian strategic arsenals and restore mutual inspections that lapsed last year, was supposed to be the first, and easiest, step in a long-term effort to bring an end to age of nuclear arms....
Mr. Kyl’s announcement shocked and angered the White House, which learned about it from the news media. Both parties had considered Mr. Kyl the make-or-break voice on the pact, with Republicans essentially deputizing him to work out a deal that would secure tens of billions of dollars to modernize the nation’s nuclear weapons complex in exchange for approval of the treaty. After months of negotiations and the addition of even more money in recent days, the White House thought it had given Mr. Kyl what he wanted.
Cute. In fact, what "Mr. Kyl" wanted was to string the President along for as long as possible before handing him an embarrassing political defeat. Kyl was never negotiating in good faith -- which the White House should have known from past negotiations with the GOP "point men". Their goal is not to reach an acceptable agreement. Their goal is to waste as much of the President's time and political capital as possible.
Sen. McConnell has already stated the GOP's top political priority for the new Congress: "Deny Barack Obama a second term in office".
That's it. That's their agenda. The White House shouldn't waste its time "negotiating" with these people. They hate Obama much, much more than they love America. If they can even be said to "love" America. They're willing to see it burn, all of it, rather than see Obama succeed in any issue.
Kyl's action now makes clearer why former Democratic pollsters Caddell and Schoen floated the nonsensical suggestion that Obama announce that he won't run for re-election:
Forgoing another term would not render Obama a lame duck. Paradoxically, it would grant him much greater leverage with Republicans and would make it harder for opponents such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) - who has flatly asserted that his highest priority is to make Obama a one-term president - to be uncooperative.
It's nonsensical only until you realize who the authors are carrying water for. Senate Republicans are essentially holding the country hostage. They're demanding that Obama announce he won't run as a precondition to carrying out the business of the nation.
That's one more negotiation Obama shouldn't fall for.
Making me take my shoes off in the security line is one thing. But we are a nation of sheep if we put up with this sort of thing. Laughably, TSA reps say that Americans can ride the bus if they don't want to be strip-searched at the airport. But unlike Greyhound, the airline industry is heavily subsidized by taxpayers, and taxpayers should have a say in how much humiliation air travelers should have to endure.