‘the lame duck wins are adding up for Obama’

Salon / Steve Kornacki: Despite their leaders’ bluster, Senate Republicans do not have the votes to block ratification of the New START treaty. When a vote to end the GOP’s filibuster was called on Wednesday afternoon, 11 Republican senators broke with their party. With a total of 67 senators voting to kill the filibuster, the path now seems clear for the chamber to formally ratify the treaty, which calls for the U.S. and Russia to pare back their nuclear arsenals over the next seven years, on Wednesday.

Needless to say, this represents a significant political victory for Barack Obama — and not his first one this lame duck session. The White House worked intently to win over Republican support, which was more crucial than usual on START because of the two-thirds requirement for treaty ratification, and overcame a series of increasingly creative objections from some GOP senators who were intent on denying Obama a key item on his December wish list.

…. START still needs to be officially ratified, and the fate of the 9/11 bill is still up in the air; there are signs that Democrats have the votes to pass it, but Republican Sen. Tom Coburn is threatening to kill it with procedural delays. If the bill ends up clearing Congress, it will serve as another clear victory for Obama.

…Think of it this way: If you had said in the immediate wake of the November election …. that by the end of the year, the START treaty would be ratified, DADT would be history, and $300 billion of new stimulus would be authorized by Congress (with Republican support), you probably would have been laughed at. But it will all soon be a reality — and there’s a real chance that passage of the 9/11 healthcare bill will be too.

13 Responses to “‘the lame duck wins are adding up for Obama’”

  1. 1 Hachikō
    December 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    “lame duck wins.” I hear heroic music playing in my head. I saw that phrase and couldn’t help but chuckle at the ambiguity. 🙂

  2. December 21, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    START is such a no-brainer it should have passed the Senate virtually unanimously. I give the president a lot of credit for getting it done, but it really should not have been this difficult. The only reason it was is that a lot of Republicans were playing politics with the issue. They never had any real substantive problems with the treaty.

    DADT, on the other hand, is a truly amazing achievement for the president, and vindicates a very careful long term strategy he put in place last year. A lot of people are just starting to understand just how far ahead of everybody else this guy thinks.

  3. 5 Jessica
    December 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I think the 9/11 Healthcare bill would be too much of a dream come true but I think the START, DADT repeal are excellent wins for U.S.A. and national security.

  4. December 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    This is welcome news. I thought START was dead in the water.

  5. 7 makesense4tulips
    December 21, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I think the president will get more regardless of the rep majority. believe me he has laid his plan for the republicans. This is where you will see the mastery of skills and the republicans eat their words.

    • 8 geegee
      December 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm

      So agree with you makesense. PBO thinks so many steps ahead of everyone else; so, I have no doubts that he will be able to get plenty stuff done in the next two years, even with the repug majority house.

  6. 9 cat48
    December 21, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I’m still holding my breath on START because the GOP totally blocked Carter’s nuclear treaty; never ratified it. I was expecting that from “Bitch” McConnell as he’s called on another blog. 🙂 The prez is almost there and it is so important because he will lose all credibility with other World leaders to make agreements and bargain if START isn’t ratified. I’m anxiously awaiting the final vote….

    • December 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      It was a different world in the 1970’s. For one thing, the Soviet Union still existed. For another thing, the main problem back then was controlling the Soviet Union. Today, we need to work together with Russia to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to places like North Korea, Iran and various other bad actors. So it is a lot harder to argue that we are in any danger by signing a treaty with Russia. We are in more danger of allowing the spread of nuclear weapons if we don’t sign a treaty with Russia.

      But you are probably still right to hold your breath. A lot of Republican Senators still haven’t quite grasped that we live in a different world.

    • 11 majii
      December 21, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      I think you hit the nail on the head, cat48, when you mentioned that the president will lose credibility with other world leaders if START isn’t ratified. I think this is what the republicans were/are aiming for. I sincerely believe that they are more than willing to destroy this country to deny President Obama another victory. Your post also reminds me of something I read back in March about HCR and didn’t know, and that was that many of the world’s leaders were very interested in whether President Obama could get HCR passed. The article stated that if President Obama had not been able to get HCR passed, many world leaders would think that he wasn’t very powerful, and they would be placed in a position from which they could flex their muscles in dealing with him on foreign policy. They lost because he’s definitely NOT a wimp.

  7. 12 AnitaW
    December 21, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    I’m still nervous about START so I will keep my fingers crossed until the vote tomorrow. I wouldn’t be surprised it they hit 70+ votes. It just doesn’t make any sense to oppose this treaty. None whatsoever.

  8. 13 Dorothy Rissman
    December 22, 2010 at 11:01 am

    What a remarkable couple of weeks. I think START will be fine. I worry about the 911 Health Care Bill. Fingers crossed on both issues.

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