It was Sen. Bob Corker's turn to take hostages today with this latest "threat": If Democrats bring the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" repeal and DREAM Act to votes tomorrow, as expected, then Republicans may kill the START treaty. Huh?
Here's Corker's introduction of the threat, for which he likely has the support of a few tenuously pro-START Republican colleagues (John McCain, Lindsey Graham) whose votes are crucial to securing the 67 required for treaty ratification.
CORKER: What's happened is it's poisoning the well on this debate, on something that's very, very important….I'm just hoping that saner minds will prevail and that these issues that have been brought forth that are absolutely partisan, political, issues, brought forth to basically accommodate activist groups around this country. I'm hoping that those will be taken down or else I don't think the future of the START treaty over the next several days is going to be successful, based on what I'm watching.
This is such a stretch for the Senate Republicans, who are usually masters at recognizing and successfully acting on their leverage before their Democratic counterparts even get out of bed. Think about this one: If you try to let gays serve openly in the military or offer a path to citizenship for high-achieving children of illegal immigrants (which isn't likely to pass), then this nuclear treaty with Russia that we're basically okay with — and which every Republican national security adviser, defense secretary, and secretary of state in the modern era, as well as George H.W. Bush, has strongly endorsed — might transform into a piece of crap that we can no longer support, as a matter of conscience. That's flimsy, and even the Democratic leaders most inclined to surrender under any threat shouldn't be worried. START has been one of the few randomly obstructed items on which the media has successfully called out Republican hypocrisy. They wouldn't win a cheap procedural standoff on this one.
But this was a nice opportunity for Sen. Corker to begin his inevitable character turn. He's one of the Senate Republicans' better policy guys, and has even dared to work in good faith with the Democratic majority on actual legislation from time to time. That's why the Tea Party is targeting him for a 2012 primary. To keep his seat, he'll just transform into another generic dick who says dickish nonsense on the Senate floor in order to score dickish points. So it goes.