With the new Republican power in Washington, it is doubly important to keep a close eye on the doings of GOP senators and congressmen to spot those who are straying from orthodoxy, seduced by power and the insider clubiness that characterizes Washington.
In the lame-duck session, we want to draw attention to six Republican U.S. senators who voted with the Democrats on a key issue. We should all bear their apostasy in mind and, in particular, make them mindful of the possibility of primary challenges to their renomination.
Two senators, in particular, deserve to have primary challengers take them on in 2012 -- Tennessee's Bob Corker and Mississippi's Thad Cochran. Both men voted for the START Treaty, which conceded a permanent edge in nuclear weaponry to Russia. While the treaty provided for equal and reduced stockpiles of strategic warheads, it did nothing to address the vast piles of tactical nuclear warheads held by the Russians. The Russians have 10,000 of these battlefield nuclear weapons piled up in the stockpile, while we have only a few hundred.
In addition, START's preamble blocks the U.S. from developing missile defenses, now especially important in light of North Korea's and Iran's expanding capacities.
Both Corker and Cochran face re-election in 2012. They should both be challenged for the nomination by men who put our need for national security above appeasing the Russians. Having suppressed democracy, wiped out free speech, taken over all the media, nationalized their oil and energy industry, invaded Georgia, enabled the Iranian nuclear program and tried to establish a natural gas monopoly in Europe, what else does Vladimir Putin need to do before Corker and Cochran realize that appeasement won't work?
Lamar Alexander, also of Tennessee, backed START and faces re-election in 2014.
In a previous column, we called attention to the defections of Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mike Crapo of Idaho from the ranks of fiscal conservatives. Both Coburn and Crapo voted for the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Commission plan, which recommended cutting the deductions for home mortgages and charitable contributions by two-thirds for most taxpayers and urged the enactment of almost $1 trillion in new taxes.
So, who sold out?
Thad Cochran, Mississippi Bob Corker, Tennessee Mike Crapo, Idaho Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Johnny Isakson, Georgia