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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

A New Start to START (Updated)

For awhile it looked like the Senate’s ratification of the new START Treaty might be dead because Sen. Reid chose to hold the DADT vote first.

But not so fast ~ the Senate has blocked a filibuster attempt with 67 votes.  What makes that ’67’ number even better is that, because a 2/3 majority is necessary to ratify a treat, this vote likely signals that there are enough votes to ratify START.

Let’s see how we got here from the dead-in-the-water of late last week.

First we get a bit of horse-trading from the 2008 Dynamic Duo of McCain and Graham:

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had promised the White House early last week that they would deliver the votes necessary to ratify the START treaty if the administration would pull the repeal of the military’s DADT policy off the lame-duck agenda, according to Democratic aides familiar with the pair’s offer.

Well, our homophobe-in-chief turned down the deal (which gives some lie to that TPM article from late last week that tried to start up some crap about the White House stalling DADT).

Sen. Graham went on Face the Nation to complain about the lame duck session, calling it poisoned and suggested that any ratification would have to wait until the next session of Congress.

Sen. Corker of TN likewise had some issues with the order of the voting.  He told Greg Sargent:

pushing for DADT repeal and other issues “is hardening them against passage of this treaty at this time,” referring to unnamed Republican colleagues. He then clarified: “I just want to make sure it’s clear they’re not going to oppose the treaty permanently … But it’s hardening them against doing it right now.”

So things were looking bleak for START.

Not anymore, though.  Today we get a vote with a number of Republicans, including Mr. Corker, voting for cloture.  So what, you might ask, turned some of the naysayers around?  Was it the President’s wit and charm?  Was it the Democrats’ powers of persuasion?  Or maybe the public support for the treaty?

Nope ~ it wasn’t the president or Harry Reid.  It wasn’t constituent phone calls or letters or protests.  It was, apparently, some Congressional staffers with either too little or too much imagination….

December 21, 2010

Pop Quiz: Who Would You Listen To?

A question from your friends at the Senate Democratic Communications Center: If you were making a major foreign policy decision affecting massive arsenals of nuclear weapons, would you tend to lean towards the position supported by:




In supporting ratification of the New START Treaty, Democrats are siding with the cross-party consensus view of virtually the entire foreign policy establishment – including former President George H.W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Gates, Secretary of State Clinton, and the secretaries of state from the last five presidents. In opposing ratification, many Senate Republicans are siding with the position supported by… Sarah Palin.

The individuals in the first group have over a century of foreign policy experience between them, and have worked closely on U.S.-Russia relations for decades. On the other hand, Palin can see Russia from her house. Apparently, that’s good enough for many Senate Republicans.

a giant h/t to rumproast for finding this gem.

If y’all want to make this an Open Thread (like you need an invitation) feel free.

UPDATE  The Senate has ratified the treaty by a vote of 71-26.  Icing on the cake that has been a really great (minus the DREAM Act vote) several days.


  1. Now if only Harry Reid would bring the DREAM act up for a vote one more time before he lets everyone go home. At least we are finishing the year on a high note before we crash back to reality in January. I suspect many independents are beginning to wonder about the GOP taking control of the House. I suspect… No that’s not right. It’s stronger than a suspicion. I’m almost certain the GOP is going to overshoot in the next congress and voters are going to turn against them in 2012.  

  2. The idea that our duly elected Representatives are “ramming things past the people” is sort of absurd, when you realize that the people elected those Congresscritters too.  

    While indeed there was an election, and some seats are going to change, the seated Senators and Reps are still fulfilling the mandate that they were elected for, and doing the job that they were charged to do.

    It’s only ramming things past the people if you want to look to future sessions and a future Congress, as opposed to doing the job that you have NOW.  The responsibility to do the whole job, for the whole session seems to have escaped some folks. The new session hasn’t started, and the Senate and House still have jobs to do…

  3. jsfox

    final vote 71-26. So another piece of good news for John McCain 🙂

    All in all this has been a pretty mobil lame duck session of Congress and certainly a great few days for The President and the country and gay and lesbian soldiers and 9-11 first responders.

  4. fogiv

    Russia hailed the U.S. ratification of a nuclear-arms reduction treaty between the two countries, promising swift passage through the Russian parliament.

    “The ratification, the entering into force of this treaty, will have a positive impact on the global geostrategic climate,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexei Sazonov told reporters today in Moscow. “It’s a confirmation that we are finding a common language with the U.S. on the most difficult questions, including nuclear and strategic” matters.

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