America Tell Republicans To Stop Holding National Security Hostage

McConnell gets his kicks "menacing" the President by keeping America unsafe

America Doesn’t Want Republicans to Hold National Security Hostage

Mitch McConnell and his Republican brethren sent a letter to Senate Democrats a few days ago announcing that no laws would be passed until the Democrats give them tax cuts for the rich. They claimed that this pledge didn’t include the START treaty, and then like clockwork, they started denouncing the START treaty, so yeah, it includes the START treaty- a matter of national security if not global security. Democrats are beginning to realize that negotiating with Republicans “is almost like negotiating with terrorists”.

The New York Times reported on the letter the Republican senators sent to Senate Democrats, which Wednesday morning Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office proudly passed on to reporters:

“No tax-cut extension? No laws for you!
In a letter signed by the 42 members of the Republican caucus, delivered to the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and mentioned Wednesday on the Senate floor by the minority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republicans informed their Democratic counterparts that they would not go forward with “any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.” The letter goes on: “With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate’s attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.””

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama signed the new START treaty on April 8 in Prague to replace the original treaty agreement that expired in December 2009. It can only come into being after it is ratified by both houses of the Russian parliament and the U.S. Senate. Without START ratified, we have no way of keeping track of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

Republicans claimed the START treaty would not be impacted by their Extortion Game, but then, they say a lot of things they don’t mean – like meeting with the President to forge a path to bipartisanship and then hours later coming out with a petulant letter claiming they will take their toys and go home if the rich people don’t get theirs’. Obviously their own prior Secretaries of States didn’t believe them either or they wouldn’t have taken to TV to denounce this action.

And then came their letter December 2.

“In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Hatch and others noted the Majority might try to bring the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) to the Senate floor in the lame duck session and urged the leader to consult them before entering into any time or amendment agreements.

The senators wrote: “New START is a complex agreement and will have lasting implications for the national security of this nation. With the limited floor time available before Sine Die, we want to ensure that a treaty of this magnitude receives sufficient debate and consideration so that all consequences, both intended and unintended, can be vetted.

“We have numerous amendments requiring significant debate to the treaty as well as the resolution of ratification that we would like to offer and have votes on. It would be unwise and improper to do this in a hurried fashion over the course of only a few days.”

This is the same excuse they use for everything they want to obstruct: They claim it’s “rushed”. They’ve had this legislation on their desks since Spring. Do you mean to tell me their aides haven’t had time to read it yet? If so, why is that? What kind of elected official ignores national security for over 8 months?

Of course, this talking point is spreading like wild fire, as Mitt Romney took to the Boston Globe to spread the meme that the President is “rushing” the START treaty, like he “rushed” healthcare. Which wasn’t rushed for anyone who is capable of reading more than a one paragraph email.

President Obama cautioned, “A failure to ratify New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) would be a dangerous gamble with America’s national security. There is enough gridlock, enough bickering. If there is one issue that should unite us – as Republicans and Democrats – it should be our national security.”

But guess what?

They have no intention of ratifying START until nuclear pork is handed out. So this isn’t even just extortion for tax cuts for the rich, it’s a lie of extortion or extortion upon extortion.

Think Progress reported several months ago:

“Mitch McConnell yesterday made it abundantly clear what the hold up is about – the GOP (and more specifically Senator Jon Kyl) hasn’t been bought off yet. Corker himself noted last week, he supports the treaty but is following Kyl’s lead and holding out for more pork. McConnell told Reuters in a shocking degree of candor:…
‘All they have to do is find enough money to satisfy Senator Kyl that they are prepared to do what they said they would do… If it’s important to you, you can find a way, in an over a trillion dollar discretionary budget to fund it. In my view they need to do that, because without that I think the chances of ratification are pretty slim.’”

Prior to their announcement that they were holding up START, I was of the resigned opinion that if Democrats needed to give a two year extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy in order to get them for the middle class, it should be done. Historically the lame duck session is not a time to pass tons of your own ideologically driven legislation, and compromise was expected. After all, we’re in a recession and I simply couldn’t justify hurting the middle class in order to lower the deficit or to take a philosophical stand against the top 2 percent. I didn’t like it, but I was reconciled to it.

However, what has become abundantly clear is that the Republicans are not negotiating in good faith. Yes, I realize this is not a bombshell, but until now they have not copped to this strategy in writing, nor so blatantly admitted that they would hold national security hostage to get what they want. The closest they’ve come to this is holding up appointments which impact our security, such as the TSA chief, an appointment they held up over concerns that Obama’s picks might want to unionize the TSA.

Somehow the notion that the American people elected Obama because they want him to pick the folks in charge has escaped the understanding of Republicans, who like to pretend that all Americans oppose Obama’s ideas. They don’t. I doubt you could find a majority of Americans who would agree that they would rather not have a TSA Chief of Security if it means that person might unionize the TSA.

But now all bets are off. Gone is the Republican’s promise on November 2, 2010 to reach across the aisle. Republicans have offered no promise or proof of promise that even if they get what they want, they will be willing to compromise in return and their recent history does nothing to support this fantasy. In fact, now Republicans are crowing about McConnell “menacing” the President with his announcement of obstruction. It seems the Republican Party learned nothing from Newt Gingrich’s Failed Debacle of Junior High tactics.

Politics is usually the art of compromise and diplomacy, but when you’re attempting to govern with a party that has no intentions of governing, a party whose ONLY goal is to see your party fail – even if it means America fails – then it’s time to play war.

No matter what Republicans claim on TV, the American people did not vote them into power to give tax breaks to the rich (polls prove this) nor did they vote them into power to obstruct our national security. There is no good reason, ever, to obstruct ratifying a treaty as important as the START treaty. To use such a safety measure (one that impacts the world, not just America) as a weapon to get what they want makes the Republican Party the enemy of America. And as they will tell you, you don’t appease the enemy.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said just hours ago, “Negotiating with Republicans (is) “almost” like negotiating with “terrorists.” Yes, almost. They’re holding up a nuclear treaty so they can get tax cuts for the rich and some nuclear pork. As an American citizen who pays taxes so these clowns can protect our community, I feel righteously ripped off right now.

And now, the Russians are threatening that if we make changes to START, they will need to do so as well. Speaker Boris Gryzlov of the lower house of Russian parliament, the State Duma, told the Rossiya TV channel:

“I hope the U.S. Congress ratifies the new START treaty, although we have already received information that they [United States] are trying to adjust and clarify the text. If they do this, we will have to do the same.”

While there is plenty of legislation on the table right now that I’d love to see passed (Democrats need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster but DADT looks to have the votes thanks to Tea Party defector Scott Brown, the DREAM act, not to mention the budget that needs to be passed to fund the government), nothing good will come of caving into political terrorism.

Republicans need to ratify the START treaty. There is no legitimate excuse for failing to do so. I realize that they dread having to give this “win” to the President, but even they must see that they have an obligation to the citizens of this country to protect us from international threats like nuclear war.

The notion that Republicans are so reading-impaired that they can’t read legislation that’s been on their desks for months is so pathetic that it should be turned around as a reason to stop paying them. Their job is to read legislation. They have many aides to assist them in this matter. If they are incapable of doing the job we are paying them to do, perhaps we should join up with the Tea Party in trying to get court approval to recall these folks.

Only after they ratify START or at least stop holding it hostage can any “negotiations” take place. Americans must not be willing victims of the Republican Party’s refusal to protect our safety.

We don’t negotiate with terrorists. And nothing says terrorist like refusing to allow the passage of a vital treaty in order to get an ideologically based piece of legislation passed in a lame duck session.

Just say ‘No’.

23 Replies to “America Tell Republicans To Stop Holding National Security Hostage”

  1. As much as I admire President Obama for his intelligence, character and integrity, he appears not yet to have grasped the intractable viciousness of the domestic political enemy and what must be done to thwack it off. You might think, for example, that the first black President would speak to the nation about why celebrating the Confederacy is hurtful and unacceptable. When Obama gives such speeches, he invariably gets a majority of Americans on his side. It is way past time for another one of those speeches.

  2. Yes. YES. YES. We shall see, but it’s time for the President to bring his A game. The American people support him by a majority. He needs to stop catering to these children who have no intention of governing.

  3. One of the main problems with the president speaking out on almost any subject nowadays has its basis in history and in the far rw’s having control of much of the media. Having grown up under segregation in this country, I realize that because our president is black, almost anything he says will be misconstrued to paint him as “out of touch,” un-American,” “an elitist,” “too urban,” using “Chicago style politics,” etc. Because of this, it is difficult for most Americans to see that a majority of Americans agree with the president on the tax cuts, the START Treaty, the economy, etc. The rw has worked tirelessly to discredit our president. They care nothing about what the majority of the American people want, or the effect of their stances on our national security/economy.

    I wish the president would come out swinging, and let the chips fall where they may as McConnell and the others play their games, but I’m thinking/hoping that he’s working behind the scenes to improve the economy to get DADT repealed , the DREAM Act passed , and to get the START Treaty approved, among other things. IMHO, it’s past the time for another Executive Office Address on these issues since those in the media have largely failed to do their jobs in informing the American people as to why things in DC, and the country, are the way they are.

  4. all I can ask is if the Republicans want to cut the deficit wider they also want to cut the amount of money going into the treasury? They are not holding us hostage just for the rich, the rich are only an excuse. If they couldn’t use the rich that it would be some other excuse there is no way they are going to pass any legislation that will be helpful to the Obama cause.

    As far as I’m concerned there is no longer a Republican in office who is worthy of setting in the Congress

  5. Another speech by Obama is not going to make any difference at this point. All his speeches before the midterm did nothing. The problem is that the republicans are all united in their evil ways while the Dems are all over the map. We have the blue dogs, the progressives and then the White House all going in different directions.Obama and many democrats give up way too much to the republicans.

  6. President Obama wanted to govern through bipartisanship, but the destructive obstructionism of the GOP has made that impossible. While giving a speech to the effect that he will not let the Party of No run over us would undoubtedly rally many people to his side, the time has come for him to quietly come up with strategies that would help him with accomplishments while leaving the Party of No and its Democratic enablers in the dust. Their idea of compromise is “my way or the highway,” and it could not be more obvious. They are even willing to put national security on the line in their self-absorbed, ruthless quest for power. There is simply no compromising with them, because they want him to fail. I hope, and believe, that by 2012, most Americans will be totally fed up with them. But my fear is that they will do an incredible amount of damage before then, and that’s why he and other Democrats need to stand up to them. As for the Democrat enablers, they need to be voted out of office at the earliest opportunity. It’s too bad that these folks who are on the public dole and doing nothing but obstruct can’t be recalled, and that it takes at least one term to be able to vote them out.

  7. The START treaty is a waste of time. We already know the Russians bypass it with every new nuclear weapon they build.

    What we should be worried about is rewriting the code for the missile defense. As most of it is obsolete and horribly buggy.

  8. What does it take to make a Republican understand that tax breaks for the wealthy do not create jobs?
    Answer: A bullet in the brain

  9. Why is everyone in such a rush to see the U.S. and Russia reduce their nuclear stockpiles? We live in much different times than the cold war. With so many “bad guys” acquiring or seeking the ability to develop nukes, disarming these two states makes very little sense.

    The game is no longer mutually assured destruction. It’s the mutual ability to destroy rogue regimes, in the event one of them ever thinks using nukes is a good idea.

    Defense systems are critical in preventing a nuclear attack but, without the threat of overwhelming return fire, a desperate, oppressive regime is more likely to test those defenses- and there is no guarantee that defense systems would be 100% effective.

  10. Republicans would pass it but they want it paid for out if un used stimulous money. Not too much to ask for. Why print more money when we don’t need too.

  11. It’s pretty interesting that you actually believe that a man whom was ELECTED by the citizens to be President has seen his approval drop 20 points (RCP average), in the last two years, because of racism. He’s currently sitting at 45.8% approval and 48.7% disapproval.

    A lot of white democrats have lost elections, at local, state and national levels in the last year, quite a few of them to republican minorities and women.

    The debate is about ideology, not race. President Obama isn’t even the right’s most disliked democrat. If Obama had the luxury of running against Nancy Pelosi, he’d win by even even greater margin than he will if he runs against Sarah Palin.

  12. Actually to the contrary. While obamas approval rating went down 20% it is well known that 20% more Americans are now racists. It’s math.

  13. I’m not sure what to think. I’m not angry. I was angry 5 years ago. I did not buy into Obamas false promises and was overcome with a sense of helplessness upon his election. Things have gone about as well as I imagined they would. I don’t really care any more. What can I do in this situation? Boycotting is often considered when corporations go against individual interest, but to boycott for a single day is often the approach and not effective. I have spent seven of the past ten years riding a bicycle (to fight petroleum companies). I have now decided my goal is to have zero income (or an income no greater than that which would cause me to pay taxes). If I can’t declare how I want the taxes I pay to be used, I don’t want to pay them. I think many people may not be able to handle this concept, but that’s their problem. They have to deal with the problems that will arise as a result of their subjection to the powers that be.

    On another note. I basically stopped reading this article when I read “polls prove…”. This is a major pet peeve of mine. Polls are not proofs, they are statistics, estimates, approximations. Polls are generally biased and misleading. A common report is that “Poll X shows that 70% of Americans believe Y”. However, that is usually not the truth. The truth is that the poll shows that 70% of those questioned (usually around 1,000 people) believed something. And considering that the demographic is representative of something like 4% of the whole population, it would be more accurate to say something along the lines of “0.00004% of Americans believe Y”, but I guess that doesn’t make for such a sensational headline, does it?

    One last thing. As a non-partisan, I’m getting rather fed up with the left-right, democrat-republican BS. Let’s just be honest and admit that politicians are the cause. It doesn’t matter if they’re left or right. Let’s stop trying to define a whole group based on the words of a single member of the group (even if many member of the group may support that position). Let’s just hold each politician to their word. Let’s worry a little less about federal politics and focus more on the local. Mind your own business first. Most people have more of their own problems worth solving before they go trying to tell others how to run their lives.

  14. Great article, but a little old fashioned in that the author seems to still think that there is some essential difference between the two parties. The rich will be getting their tax cuts. Nothing will be allowed to interfere with their looting. The Dems held both houses and the White House, Obama could have enacted any tax measures he likes. And he still holds the veto but will not use, demurring that he wants to have a good relationship with his petulant and evil friends across the aisle.

    Read Chris Hedges for more on the creeping inverted totalitarianism in America. He knows what is going on.

    Oh, did I say “creeping”? I meant “rampaging” …

  15. START is a good treaty as it reduces the number of weapons and thereby decreases the chance of proliferation or accident. What it does NOT do is reduce the chance of war with Russia. That event, when and if it happens, will be deliberate and not related to the number of weapons.

    START is is just two old, but now somewhat relaxed, enemies, who got together to save some money. Maintaining those weapons is very expensive and since by definition, most of them are excess to need, it only makes sense to reduce them.

    Reduce them. Never eliminate them. That is impossible. Obama is lying when he says that is goal.

    So no, this treaty is not a big deal. The threat of proliferation and or accident is very very low, and America is not going to attack Russia any time soon. China is first anyway.

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