Lugar on New START: "The Votes Are There"

Posted: Dec 06, 2010 8:37 AM
An ominous statement from the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: 

In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said he thinks there are enough votes for the treaty - a nuclear arms agreement between Russia and the United States - to pass through the Senate.

"The votes are there," Lugar told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Although he said there was little interaction between President Obama and Republicans before the midterm election, he has met with the president multiple times to discuss the treaty.

Former Attorney General Ed Meese and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle aren't impressed by new START, nor the Republicans who support it.  They argue that their beloved boss would never sign on to such a raw deal for America, despite one of the 44th president's favorite talking point:

President Obama has taken to the airwaves to pump up support for the New Start Treaty with Russia by arguing that Ronald Reagan would have endorsed it. Both of us had the high honor of knowing our 40th president. We worked for Ronald Reagan, and we're sure that's not the case.

There are many reasons why this treaty falls short of those negotiated by President Reagan. For one thing, its verification regime is inadequate. For another, it gives the Kremlin an unwarranted influence over the structure of our nuclear deterrent. Most important, it will almost certainly reduce our freedom to deploy vital defenses against ballistic missiles.

Moreover, the administration is asking a lame-duck Senate, dominated by a party that was rebuked at the polls by the electorate, to vote for this major arms-control treaty, in contravention of the settled traditions of our country—a tactic Reagan surely would have deplored.

George Will used his column last week to outline his skepticism over the treaty; it's worth the read.