Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bolton, Yoo: Did Voters Go To the Polls With Nuclear Policy in Mind?

Clearly, the election results mean conservative Republicans should get their way on everything. But serious question: Did voters go to the polls with America's nuclear policy in mind? Because that's what John Yoo* and John Bolton want you to believe:

"THE sweeping Democratic midterm losses last week raise serious questions for President Obama and a lame-duck Congress. Voters want government brought closer to the vision the framers outlined in the Constitution, and the first test could be the fate of the flawed New Start arms control treaty, which was signed by President Obama and President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia last spring but awaits ratification. The Senate should heed the will of the voters and either reject the treaty or amend it so that it doesn’t weaken our national defense."

Of course, one could argue that by leaving the Senate in Democratic hands -- even with a diminished majority -- that the Senate would be pursuing the will of the voters by pursuing Democratic priorities that are within the Senate's purview. Treaty approval, of course, falls under that purview.

More to the point, though, I'd love to see any evidence that the "will of the voters" was being expressed on nuclear policy. If you look at the GOP-leaning Rasmussen Reports poll taken just before the election, national security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rank among the bottom three of the 10 "most important" issues to voters. I'm not saying that voters don't or shouldn't care about nuclear policy; I'm just saying we have little reason to believe that was part of the message they were trying to send. Casually invoking "the will of the voters" without any foundation is cynical to the point of false.

* You know my beliefs about John Yoo. I hate that the Times is giving him space as a respected commentator on the issues.

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