The audacity of Republican ‘leadership’

The U.S. and Russia have long had a deal – dating to the Cold War, in fact – where they have allowed ground inspections of the other nation’s nuclear arsenal. This helps to ensure the other side doesn’t have a secret buildup happening. This deal adds meaningful weight to reduction treaties. It also contributes to security for both sides – but especially the U.S. – because there is more transparency in terms of where nuclear arms are being sent around the world, if anywhere.

But the Party of No doesn’t really give a shit.

One of President Obama’s top foreign-policy goals suffered a potentially ruinous setback when the Senate’s second-ranking Republican said the U.S. nuclear treaty with Russia should not be considered until next year.

The statement Tuesday by Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) stunned the White House and Democrats, who scrambled to save the pact. It came just days after Obama declared that ratifying the treaty was his top foreign-policy priority for the lame-duck session of Congress.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) needs 67 votes to pass. Because of Democratic losses in the midterm elections, it would be harder to approve next year, requiring at least 14 Republican votes rather than nine now.

Kyl is making a political stand designed purely to embarrass the President. His actions serve no purpose – especially since Obama has already done a little backscratching by committing money to modernizing the country’s nuclear complex already, as requested by Kyl. The toolsac just wants to make a political move.

Kyl, of course, is taking his cues from Sen. Mitch McConnell. You know, that’s the guy who said the Republicans Party’s number one goal over the next two year is to kick Obama out of office? Yeah, that guy. For once a Republican wasn’t bullshitting. This is really their whole plan – do whatever it takes to embarrass the President. And then when the economy starts to recover as a result of natural growth plus all the Democratic policies put in place that have strengthened our country, they will take credit for that. I promise that when we start seeing good growth and shrinking unemployment over the next 18-20 months, the Republicans will start taking credit – despite getting nothing done by being the Party of No.

But let’s not bother to inspect Russia’s shoddy nuclear complex. I’m sure no weapons will end up in the wrong hands. What reason do we have to be distrustful of that nation, anyway?

Here are some facts

  • The Obama Administration has put in some excellent policies, including age restrictions on credit cards and cutting out the middle man in loans (this second one brings some amusement with it: conservatives claim to hate the government interfering with the private sector, but they don’t seem to realize that the only reason this part of the private sector could thrive was because of government backing. They should approve of this move – except they blindly hate Obama).
  • The second bailout was the right move. It prevented a collapse of the credit markets from the Bush recession.
  • Many of the businesses that got bailouts are paying back that money.
  • McCain would have just followed the Republicans (as has been his thing over the past few purely political, dishonest years of his life) and slashed social programs all over the place; people would lose homes, only making things worse.
  • Tax cuts alone don’t create jobs. They do, however, increase debt.

Quickies

  • The Tea Party is a response to a black president.
  • Most of the job loss in the Bush Recession occurred before Obama’s policies were even in place.
  • One major factor in the political polarization of the U.S. is the gerrymandering of districts – from both major parties.
  • Paul LePage knows nothing.
  • Matt Damon is excellent.

Thought of the day

I don’t much get into debating Obama’s policies because the political environment is so polarized and thus not conducive to discussion with most people, but I do rather hate the FOX Noise-driven rhetoric I constantly hear. From “socialist” to “death panels”, there’s a lot of lying. There’s certainly plenty of the same from Democrats, but the Republicans are just better at it. They demonstrate as much in the way they’ve convinced people that the stimulus bill failed. In fact, without the stimulus unemployment would be another 2 points higher. But the Republicans aren’t going to mention that figure.

Barton is in line with the Republican Party

As everyone knows by now, Rep. Joe Barton apologized to BP for the $20b fund Obama strong armed from the company. The reason Obama was able to do this was because of the non-free market style economy the U.S. has which allows for the threat of greater, government-enforced penalties. Of course, the free market would be entirely flaccid in trying to wrest any real funds from BP. Thank goodness the U.S. has never had such an awful, awful system.

But Republicans and their sister Teabagging party wish we had a free market system. It sounds like liberty – despite the inevitability of monopolies, limited (if any) rights for workers, and no real enforcement of safety standards, retirement plans, or anything else that makes modern life comfortable. But it sure does sound swell. And that’s why they like it. It isn’t that it actually makes a majority of people happy or that it results in a strong economy. In fact, one of the few free market economies – Hong Kong – has only been able to experience any success because of the supporting structure of communist China. On their own, free markets will fail. If they don’t, the well-being of the people subjected to the whims of the few who become powerful will come under greater and greater strain over time.

But forget all that. It still sounds nice. Liberty! Boy, oh, boy! That’s why Rep. Barton made his apology.

What Obama managed to accomplish with BP runs counter to the free market principles the Republicans and Teabaggers support (until they need/want roads, schools, a place to put the homeless, a war on drugs, etc, etc). Rep. Barton is perfectly in line with the Republican Party on this one. Obviously they ran away screaming because of the political fallout of the situation, but if everything they’ve ever said was in the least sincere, then they hate that BP is being forced to pay.

At least they aren’t all crazy

Despite Dubya being the worst president after James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Millard Fillmore, and Franklin Pierce, his messed up ideology is not wholly pervasive within his family.

She may have been born into a Republican family, but Barbara Bush, the 28-year-old daughter of former President George W. Bush, sounded more like a Democrat this weekend during an interview with Fox News. When “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace asked her whether she supports President Obama’s health care reform plan, she responded: “I guess I’m glad the bill was passed.”

“Why do, basically, people with money have good health care and why do people who live on lower salaries not have good health care?” she said. “Health should be a right for everyone.” She is president of the Global Health Corps, an organization that champions global health equity.

The article goes on to cite Laura Bush’s support for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, as well as her support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage. It’s nice to at least know that whole family isn’t a bunch of loons.

Some benefits for gay couples

It’s a step in the right direction.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday expanded benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees, a move likely to be welcomed by gay rights activists who have questioned his commitment to their causes.

Obama said he had directed government agencies to offer a number of new benefits to the families of gay and lesbian federal employees, including family assistance services, hardship transfers and relocation expenses.

How horrible. More families have more equality. Next logical stop: sex with animals. R-right?

Of course, the only way any of these families can actually get more than a taste of equality is through full marital rights – you know, those legal rights that are legally conferred upon people through a legal contract.