Just about halfway into President Obama’s term, and we’ve had one of the most lopsided elections in American history- all based on misconceptions about what has or hasn’t been accomplished. The media, politicians, their parties, and blogs far less sane than the one you’re currently reading, have spun a lot of things and just not highlighted a lot of things that have gotten done over the past two years despite a Congress that became infamous for not being able to get things done.
At the end of the day, everything goes by the President, and are often labeled as his accomplishments, or pieces of his agenda that have gotten through. I’m sure some of you have heard about the site that has sprang up in recent days called “WTF Has President Obama Done So Far”; it’s great for listing his accomplishments, but there’s zero analysis to it whatsoever.
That’s where I come in: Each installment of this regular section, while I haven’t decided on a frequency yet, will have a short statement of something that has been accomplished over the last two years. Of course, there’ll be the analysis of the accomplishment that you’ve come to expect from me, as well as where it stands now- what it looks like going into the 112th Congress and the broader future. Without further ado, here’s the inaugural edition:
On Nuclear Proliferation
Signed New START Treaty – the new nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia
Ah nuclear proliferation, nothing like putting together a replacement for a rather important expiring Cold War-era treaty. Whenever I do Model UN either here or in years past, nuclear proliferation issues were always my favorite to debate. This is a tough one to call an “accomplishment” at this point. Though President Obama did sign the New START Treaty in April, it still hasn’t gone into effect. That is because of course, the Senate must ratify all treaties, and must do so via a 2/3 majority; the Democrats never had that much of a majority in the last session of Congress, and they are even worse off now.
Hell, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and presumed Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), among other leaders in the GOP, are going so far as to say their objective for the next two years is to ensure that President Obama only gets one term. How exactly they’re going to do that beyond taking obstructionism and Congressional gridlock to a whole new level is beyond me, but it looks like this will be one of many casualties of it.
Shame, too, because even though the Cold War ended, it’s in everyone’s interest to keep track of those damned weapons. The people who were in charge of America’s nuclear deterrent have all endorsed the treaty, and according to the article, the relevant questions about it have been answered. Chalk this one up to the partisanship that seems to rule these days; it doesn’t look like it’ll get anywhere close to passage any time soon. Unless…
Failure to pass the treaty looks bad on us; since the election, Russia has threatened to shelve the treaty and wait for us to make the first move before they approve it. Our relationship with the Russian Federation would suffer on a number of vital fronts if that occurred. However, the article seems to suggest that Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) is the last remaining holdout in the Senate to meet the threshold for approval; the treaty’s hopes seem to ride on persuading him to vote in favor of it before the lame-duck session ends and the new Congress is sworn in.
President Obama is pushing it as a top priority, and we can only guess how the Senate will operate in the lame-duck session given an energized GOP contingent. Perhaps this new ad, created by the American Values Network, will help. I’m surprised they resurrected this ad originally from 1964, but it’s certainly as powerful and timely as it was back then:
The The Good, The Bad, and the Presidential by The New Age of Politics, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.