In the flurry of lame-duck victories for President Obama and
the Democrats, the ratification of the START Treaty probably tells the
story about the coming two years. The GOP opponents of approving START
there wasn't enough time, though the first START in 1992 and its
successor in 2003
both passed in a week or less on the Senate floor. There was ample time.
13 Republican senators joining the Democrats to ratify the arms-control
agreement — four more than the necessary nine to reach a required 67
votes — there was ample
support as well.
The New York Times has a fascinating take on how the GOP has divided into two groups on national-security issues, the formers and the futures, and that beyond START, Obama's broader disarmament agenda isn't likely to go very far. Here is an excerpt:
The list of former cold warriors who supported New Start jumped out from the front pages of the cold war and the George W. Bush administration: Henry A. Kissinger, George P. Shultz and Condoleezza Rice. George H. W. Bush, who signed the Start II treaty in 1993 with President Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia, issued a brief statement of support. But some of the current powers in the party, including Republicans who may have their eyes on challenging Mr. Obama, from Mitt Romney to Sarah Palin, denounced it as a weakening of the United States, arguing that it limited missile defenses. Mr. Obama ultimately beat that argument back, pointing to his deployment plan of a series of layered missile defenses over the next decade, mostly aimed at containing the likes of nuclear aspirants, chiefly Iran. “By and large, this debate has revealed two breeds of Republicans,” said Franklin C. Miller, a hawk on nuclear issues who helped devise President George W. Bush’s nuclear strategies, but also worked for his four predecessors.
“There are those who understand the history of the cold war and the need to put verifiable controls on nuclear weapons,” he said. “And there is another school which may or may not understand the issues, but is happy to treat them as a political football.”
Besides three retiring Republican senators, the following senators bucked their leader and voted for START: Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderOvernight Regulation: Trump's Labor nominee hints at updating overtime rule Trump's Labor pick signals support for overtime pay hike Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing MORE of Tennessee, Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonOvernight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes Schumer to House GOP: 'Turn back before it's too late' MORE of Georgia, Mike JohannsMike JohannsLobbying World To buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops MORE of Nebraska, Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiElle honors 10 at annual 'Women in Washington' event Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote MORE of Alaska, Dick Lugar of Indiana, Thad CochranThad CochranOvernight Defense: FBI chief confirms Trump campaign, Russia probe | Senators push for Afghan visas | Problems persist at veterans' suicide hotline Senators ask to include visas for Afghans in spending bill Shutdown politics return to the Senate MORE of Mississippi, Bob CorkerBob CorkerSenators introduce new Iran sanctions Senators war over Wall Street during hearing for Trump's SEC pick Rand Paul roils the Senate with NATO blockade MORE of Tennessee, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote MORE of Maine.
Obama can expect to lose numerous Democratic votes in the Senate next year — Democrats up for reelection in 2012 in Virginia, Montana, Missouri and other battlegrounds are going to side with Republicans much of the time, giving the GOP effective control. But the list of senators who voted for START are Republicans to watch, as they could provide the most likely path to bipartisanship in the Senate next year.
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