This is what it means to put partisan politics above the national interest:
The optimism hadn’t been expressed publicly, but the White House really did think it finally had a deal in place for Senate ratification of the new arms control treaty with Russia, New START.
Republicans had made Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) their point man on the issue — it’s not clear why, since Kyl has no background or working knowledge of the issue — and he made specific objections to the Obama administration clear. Officials, in response, gave Kyl what we asked for. The deal, they thought, was done.
Over many months of negotiations, the administration committed to spending $80 billion to do that over the next 10 years, and on Friday offered to chip in $4.1 billion more over the next five years. As a gesture of commitment, the White House had made sure extra money for modernization was included in the stopgap spending resolution now keeping the government operating, even though almost no other program received an increase in money.
All told, White House officials counted 29 meetings, phone calls, briefings or letters involving Mr. Kyl or his staff. They said they thought they had given him everything he wanted, and were optimistic about completing a deal this week, only to learn about his decision on Tuesday from reporters.
Kyl wouldn’t even give the White House the courtesy of a phone call to let them know he was betraying them and the nation’s national security needs. Worse, the dimwitted Kyl, with the future of American foreign policy in his hands, couldn’t even give a coherent rationale for why he’d made the decision — his office would only say “there doesn’t appear to be enough time” in the lame-duck session.
This is what happens when serious officials try to negotiate in good faith with Republicans — they refuse to take “yes” for an answer, they don’t have intellectual capacity to explain why, and the entire country has to suffer the consequences.
The treaty has the strong support of top military leaders, and its success in Congress would be a significant policy achievement for Pres. Obama. Of course, that means that if Republicans kill it, the blow to Obama’s presidency would be severe.
According to Peter Baker at the New York Times, the White House was “blindsided” by Kyl’s betrayal, which is, to say the least, puzzling. John Cole, bless his acerbic heart, does not say the least:
Really? This blind-sided them? Sweet mother of everything holy.
Just what the hell have the members of this administration been paying attention to for the last two years? The Republicans are going to do EVERY single thing they can to ruin your administration. If they sense there is the slightest chance for you to do anything positive or constructive, they will block it. Did you not see them demanding that Robert Byrd be wheeled to the floor of the Senate at midnight on Christmas to vote for HCR? Did they not learn from Chuck Grassley saying that sure, if everything I want inHCR is in there, I will still vote against it. Did they not learn anything from all their dealings with the snow princesses in Maine? Have they not learned anything from the antics of mean old man McCain in regards to DADT? Lindsey Graham on cap and trade and immigration? They are actively working to keep the economy in the shitter until 2012, for chrissakes.
With all due respect, what the hell are you idiots in the White House smoking? You incompetent boobs. THE REPUBLICANS WILL NOT WORK WITH YOU IN GOOD FAITH ON ANYTHING. Get it through your god damned heads. And they will screw you dim bulbs on tax cuts next, and then you all will throw up your hands and tell us no one could have predicted. The Republicans aren’t the only one living in their own reality, as this White House clearly has constructed a new reality in which Republicans act in good faith. It’s about as real as Narnia.
Spencer Ackerman gets the pithy last word:
When you have to start out by arguing for the thing on the merits, that’s a really bad sign. New START is an unobjectionable treaty. The arguments against it are tendentious bullshit, dismissed with a roll of the eye. The value of monitoring the Russian nuclear arsenal and the hazards of not monitoring it are too obvious to recapitulate. The objections are about politics. So if the Obama administration doesn’t have a good political argument for New START, that’s it. You see one?