Even though proponents of passage of the New START treaty with Russia seem to be gaining support in the lame-duck Senate, they’re still pretty cranky over the willingness of some to question the pact. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker is mad enough about it to start some serious name-calling.
According to Tucker, the fact that the usual chorus line of foreign-policy grandees has endorsed the treaty ought to obligate everyone with questions about the wisdom of the treaty and the need to rush it through a lame-duck session to just shut up. But she isn’t satisfied with calling treaty foes “petty and petulant” and their arguments “nonsense.” As far as she is concerned, they are also “unpatriotic.”
How so? Well, in spite of quite cogent arguments from the other side about the inconsequential nature of the obligations that the pact puts on Russia and the complete lack of a connection between arms control and national security, Tucker’s so convinced of the treaty’s worth that she thinks it is a “victory” for America, and we all know that anybody who doesn’t want America to “win” in arms control is not patriotic, right?
But Tucker’s real reason for besmirching the loyalty of those opposed to this measure is that she is convinced that the signing of this treaty — or really any treaty, no matter what it says, and it’s far from clear that she has any grasp of what New START will entail — is a victory for Barack Obama. So she thinks GOP opponents are simply desperate to prevent Obama from having a treaty-signing photo-op. It’s true that Republicans don’t want Obama to be re-elected, but that doesn’t make them any less patriotic than Democrats who viewed the prevention of George W. Bush’s re-election as a matter of national security. But just as support for Bush wasn’t a matter of patriotism, neither is backing Obama. But Obama fans such as Tucker are so oblivious to their blind partisanship that she actually believes there is no difference between loving your country and loving Obama.
This is another moment to note that those who blame the Tea Party movement and conservative opponents of the president for the abasement of civil discourse are hypocrites. If simply wanting to delay the passage of a nuclear-arms treaty until after the new Congress is seated is enough to justify a slur on your patriotism, then is there any smear to which allegedly respectable liberal pundits won’t sink?