Stop the nonsense on START

Christmas is coming. But apparently the Senate Republicans didn’t get the memo.

Despite getting everything they wanted by securing $800 billion in tax cuts for the richest 1.5 percent of Americans when they should have received a sock full o’coal for holding hostage tax cuts for every American to secure their deal, the Republicans are still in a very grumpy and non-Christmassy mood.

President Obama has been pressing the Senate for months to ratify the New START agreement he negotiated and signed with the Russians. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Republicans are blocking and trying to kill this important international arms agreement treaty.

Most of the adults in the Republican Party still don’t play politics with national security. Every living Republican former secretary of State and Defense and former Republican presidents have called on the Senate to ratify the treaty. But the Republicans in Congress aren’t led by adults. They are led by partisan hacks like McConnell, who famously and spitefully pledged to do all he could to ensure President Obama is not reelected. If that means blocking a bilateral agreement with bipartisan support and endangering our national security, so be it. Politics comes first.

McConnell claims he needs more time. Hogwash. The treaty was signed more than 8 months ago and has suffered delay after delay as the Republicans practiced their blockade politics all year long. McConnell also complains that the process has been “trifurcated,” with other important issues being considered at the same time. That’s an interesting posture to take by the man who will presumably spend the next two years continuing the blockage of progress while making the case that he should be placed in charge of the Senate. “Hire me, America, I’m incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time,” he’s saying.

McConnell isn’t the only Senate Republican demonstrating a failure of leadership this Christmas. In the latest instance of Grahamstanding, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has indicated he’s in the “I was for it before I was against it” crowd. As he has done on issue after issue, from judges to healthcare, from climate change and now to START, Graham has bowed to the pressure of the Republican Conference to put politics before national security because he’s upset that the Senate had the nerve to pass other bills during the session.

The GOP is happy to endanger our national security over petty politics. They will do anything to weaken our president and in turn our country. They’ll root for the recession to continue. They’ll repeal healthcare for 32 million Americans. They’ll block treaties to reduce nuclear weapons.

The Republicans are demonstrating their duplicity and lack of seriousness. Honest disagreements are acceptable, but delaying tactics, political posturing and putting the lives of Americans at risk, as McConnell and his gang of No-sayers are doing every day, is contemptible. It’s time to stop the nonsense and pass New START before Christmas comes.


David Di Martino is CEO of Blue Line Strategic Communications Inc. The views expressed in this blog are his and do not necessarily represent Blue Line’s. Follow David: @bluelinedd.