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Posted at 3:26 PM ET, 12/21/2010

Lindsey Graham: Senate owes Jon Kyl an apology for moving forward with New START

By Greg Sargent

Look, I get that being an elected member of the world's greatest deliberative body is a really awesome gig, with lots of perks -- secret holds, Senators-only elevators -- that encourage a rather outsized view of the importance of individual Senators.

But it seems particularly ludicrous that at a presser today, Senator Lindsey Graham actually apologized to Jon Kyl on behalf of the rest of the Senate, because it isn't doing his bidding and instead is ratifying New START:

Graham, who was signaling he might vote for the treat only a week ago, was the most indignant senator in complaining about the process Democrats have used to move the treaty during the lame duck session of Congress.

He also railed against his own party for the way they have handled the treaty and acted throughout the lame duck session.

"I stand here very disappointed in the fact that our lead negotiator on the Republican side ... basically is going to have his work product ignored and the treaty jammed through in the lame duck. How as Republicans we justify that I do not know," Graham said. "To Senator Kyl, I want to apologize to you for the way you've been treated by your colleagues."

Seriously? Senators who have agreed to ratify New START before the end of the lame-duck session are doing this because they've been asked to by the President of the United States, the military leadership, all the living secretaries of state under Republican presidents, and a whole range of national security experts across the political spectrum. They are doing this after more than a dozen public hearings and countless private briefings from military leaders and White House officials who did everything they could do address their concerns. They are doing this because they are persuaded that it is in the national security interests of the United States and is necessary to maintain global stability.

Yet Senators who are voting to ratify New START because they believe it's the right thing to do should feel apologetic to Kyl for defying his wishes, even though the evidence is overwhelming that Kyl's objections have been thoroughly addressed? Yeah, right: It's an absolute outrage that these Senators are prioritizing their own sense of what's right for the country and the world, over the influence, standing and fragile ego of a single fellow Senator.

Unreal.

UPDATE, 3:48 p.m.: The Senate just voted in favor of moving forward with ratification, with 67 Senators voting Yes, And as John Kerry noted at a presser just now, several certain Yes votes were not even present, so the total is more like 70.

That makes 70 senators who owe Jon Kyl a major apology.

By Greg Sargent  | December 21, 2010; 3:26 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Comments

Lindsey appears to have become scared out of his mind, about the threat of a primary challenge from the Tea Party, and is doing everything he can to show that he really is to the right of all the Republican Right Wing Nut Jobs.

Pretty much the same thing that John McCain ended up doing.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 21, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I think this is actually worse than Joe Barton apologizing to BP. He's making a spectacle on a matter of foreign policy and national security.

Crybaby!

Someone should tell Lindsay to go sit in the corner in time out if he's going to whine like a child.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 21, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

This has the same flavor as that Texas congressman, Joe Barton, apologizing to BP when the President demanded, and BP agreed, to put up the $20billion fund for the oil spill.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 21, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Greg, you don't get it, it is all about being (or, more accurately, pretending to be) a victim.

Posted by: HansSolo | December 21, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

It's the rest of us that need an apology from the voters of Arizona who elect two of the biggest pieces of crap to the US Senate.

Posted by: filmnoia | December 21, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Liam-still, I doubt that McCain is that worried about a primary challenger in 2016.

Did anyone else see the actual Graham press conference? Did he really say: "The Senate owes Kyl an apology"? If not, this headline is unreal.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 21, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Does the legislative branch even have the constitutional power to amend treaties, since the executive branch has been given the power to negotiate such treaties, and the legislative branch the power to ratify or not ratify such agreements?

Posted by: Liam-still | December 21, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Arizona owes America an apology.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 21, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I want to apologize to John Kyl and Lyndsey Graham:

Dear Senators Kyl and Graham:

I'm sorry you've had to go through life being miserable pricks.

Your parents really screwed you up. Seek help. I've heard zoloft is pretty good.

Love,
The People of Planet Earth

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 21, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Liam-still, the Senate is not "amending" START. If they withheld consent (you agree that they can do that, right?) the Executive would have to go back to Russia to amend, or not. The same thing happened in 1978 regarding the Panama Canal treaty.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 21, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Kyl is dumb as a sack of hammers, unlike the smart but shameless and scheming McConnell. It is hard to imagine a party putting Kyl in a leadership position.

The GOP can always, always be counted on to overplay their hand. But who'da thunk it would happen so soon? Before they even take power?

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 21, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, the continuing resolution for funding the government through March, 2011 passes the Senate.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/12/government-funding-measure-cle.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: jnc4p | December 21, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

butters has jumped the shark.

Posted by: calif-joe | December 21, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Sure, sure. I got that apology right here in my pocket. Hold on. I'll get it.
(Digs around in pocket)
Here it is!
(Sticks middle finger right in Kyl's face)

Posted by: cao091402 | December 21, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

claw12: "Did anyone else see the actual Graham press conference? Did he really say: "The Senate owes Kyl an apology"? If not, this headline is unreal."

Havin' a hard time reading past the headline, huh?

Here's a hint:

The bold black letters in the middle of the post is the actual quote.....

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 21, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what clowns!

I'm still amazed by the view that working on Christmas week is sacriligious. Can someone please tell my boss?

IMO, if the START treaty process ends up making the GOP look like a whiners, it is their own fault. As Serwer noted earlier today, the repubs could have just done business without all the drama and it would never looked like a "defeat" for the leadership or even a "victory" for Obama. Right now they are plunging the knife over and over into their political body by looking so pathetic and utterly shallow over the whole thing.

The 9/11 First Responders bill is the same thing. This should not be a big deal, but because they decided to make it a battleground they look silly and petty.

Posted by: Alex3 | December 21, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12: Then what would you call McCain's attempt to amend the non-binding preamble to the treaty? You are correct that the Senate may refuse to ratify treaties, and in addition, if they have lesser concerns, the established practice is to address them in the ratification legislation. Attempting instead to reject the treaty by amending the language, as McCain did, is just an underhanded way to kill it when you don't have the guts to do it openly and take the heat.

Posted by: jimeh | December 21, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The GOP can always, always be counted on to overplay their hand. But who'da thunk it would happen so soon? Before they even take power?

Posted by: Mimikatz
+++++++++++

The Republicans certainly have made great progress in the last few weeks toward ensuring Obama's re-election.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | December 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

["Liam-still, the Senate is not "amending" START. If they withheld consent (you agree that they can do that, right?) the Executive would have to go back to Russia to amend, or not. The same thing happened in 1978 regarding the Panama Canal treaty."]

Russia has made it quite clear that they will not renegotiate. And all things considered, they have little reason to. The far-right hardliners who control most of the government there would actually like an excuse to cause a bit more mayhem, and the GOPers obstructing this treaty are trying to give them that excuse on a silver platter. "See? Even the U.S. doesn't agree with controlling nukes. Let's go to town."

Just as an aside, to put this on the record, the other two groups hoping New START derails are the governments of Iran and North Korea. Makes you wonder why the GOP are doing their bidding against the interests of the USA.

Posted by: jiji1 | December 21, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

No, suekzoo1, I read the whole thread including "Update" and linked article. See how easy it is to answer honest questions?

It's completely possible that Sen. Graham indeed said "The Senate owes Kyl an apology" but that's not in an excerpt posted therein. Which is why I was asking.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 21, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

You know what? South Carolina owes the entire country an apology for sending that whiny *ss titty baby to the senate where he could plague the rest of us with his complete nonsense.

"The GOP can always, always be counted on to overplay their hand. But who'da thunk it would happen so soon? Before they even take power?

Posted by: Mimikatz
+++++++++++"

Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing last night.

Posted by: lcrider1 | December 21, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

LOL

Sorry...OT

Poll: Majority Of NJ Voters Don't Want Gov. Christie For President

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose unpolished, tough-talking style has brought him much national attention and made him a viral sensation, is often floated as a potential presidential candidate in 2012. A new Quinnipiac poll out today suggests Christie would face a tough time even in his home state.

According to the poll, a large majority of New Jersey voters don't think their governor would make a good president. Sixty-three percent of respondents said Christie would not be a good commander-in-chief, while only 25% said he would be a good fit for the nation's top job.

What's more, most New Jersey voters don't like the sound of "Vice President Christie" either. Just 32% of respondents said Christie would make a good veep, while 59% said he would not.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/poll-most-nj-voters-dont-want-gov-christie-for-president.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 21, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12: Then what would you call McCain's attempt to amend the non-binding preamble to the treaty? You are correct that the Senate may refuse to ratify treaties, and in addition, if they have lesser concerns, the established practice is to address them in the ratification legislation. Attempting instead to reject the treaty by amending the language, as McCain did, is just an underhanded way to kill it when you don't have the guts to do it openly and take the heat.

Posted by: jimeh | December 21, 2010 4:14 PM |
.............................

It is all part of the same game plan to make Obama unelectable, like McConnell said he was going to do.

The Republicans want to force Obama to go back to the Russians with an offer that they will have to refuse, so they can then claim that Obama is weak on Defense.

That is what the Republican Traitors are up to. They are willing to start another global nuclear arms race, in order to keep Obama from winning a second term.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 21, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

From the article about the Repub Anti-START Presser:

"DeMint continued to accuse the Democrats of waging a war against Christmas vacation, as he communicated what he saw as the "outrage" of "millions of Americans" over the Democrats' actions."

Please save me from the idiots... Dems are going to take away EVERYONE's Christmas? Millions outraged? Perhaps having their own propaganda cable channel has gotten them lazy in their phrasing, but damn if that isn't the most ignorant stuff I've heard in a long time.

Again, this may come as news to these priviged darlings, but MOST Americans work Christmas week and the week after. We get one day off and back at it we go. Hearing DeMint and Graham make boneheaded statements like this really interferes with my ability to take them seriously as good faith actors because you know this is all bullsh*t.

Posted by: Alex3 | December 21, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

And yes, Arizona owes us an apology as well.

Kyl is a dick. He should be ignored.

Posted by: lcrider1 | December 21, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The media debate is in full swing about the President’s huge lame duck session, and what it will mean for his poll numbers. Now as we sit on the precipice of the START treaty ratification, I felt it was important to glance back in the history of this President and see why exactly we are here today. A kind of struggle through the white noise if you will:

http://www.doubledutchpolitics.com/2010/12/for-obama-new-strategic-arms-reduction-treaty-is-start-of-legacy/

Posted by: RyanC1384 | December 21, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, has anyone seen any evidence of Kyl's so-called "work product" that Graham is complaining is being ignored? From every report I've seen, Kyl has produced nothing but delay, objections unsupported by the facts, and whining about actually having to do his job.

Posted by: jimeh | December 21, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

From the article about the Repub Anti-START Presser:

"DeMint continued to accuse the Democrats of waging a war against Christmas vacation, as he communicated what he saw as the "outrage" of "millions of Americans" over the Democrats' actions."

Please save me from the idiots... Dems are going to take away EVERYONE's Christmas? Millions outraged? Perhaps having their own propaganda cable channel has gotten them lazy in their phrasing, but damn if that isn't the most ignorant stuff I've heard in a long time.

Again, this may come as news to these priviged darlings, but MOST Americans work Christmas week and the week after. We get one day off and back at it we go. Hearing DeMint and Graham make boneheaded statements like this really interferes with my ability to take them seriously as good faith actors because you know this is all bullsh*t.

Posted by: Alex3 | December 21, 2010 4:22 PM |
............................

This coming from The Republican Party that was more than willing to destroy the holiday season for millions of out of work Americans who's unemployment compensation period had expired.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 21, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Lindsey Graham is trying out to be the "new maverick" and that means being very good at misplacing heartfelt morals and emoting manipulatively in front of the microphones and cameras so everyone can see just how much you care. It's a role that will suit him fine, the drama queen that his his.

I just feel bad that Jon Kyl was forced to work on December 15, the Ides of December, when he should have been home with his family celebrating festivus.

Harry Reid is a rat bahstid, making Senators work.

Is no one gong to connect record filibusters and obstruction by Senate GOP to the crocodile tears we're seeing from emotive Republican Senators these last few weeks of this Congress?

Posted by: NeilSagan | December 21, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"Dems are going to take away EVERYONE's Christmas?"

Omg, Dems, PLEASE take away my Christmas!!!

Thanksgiving straight through the end of the year... ugh.

To quote Clawrence, "Enough is Enough!"

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 21, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Alex3, what's your boss's email address? I will be glad to put in a good word for you to get more than just one day off.

jimeh, I call it trying to save our nation from a bad treaty. Kyl's work product is summarized here: http://kyl.senate.gov/legis_center/NewSTART_statement.cfm (be sure to click on both links there too)

Liam-still, whether you care to believe it or not, there are some non-political, policy objections to this treaty.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 21, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing that these Republican'ts do, the Grand Oafish Party, nothing they will not stoop to to show their little disguised hate for President Obama. President Obama's sin? He's African American. And he is more American than the hypocrites who talk about mandate when our American President was given a massive mandate, one that does not expire till the next election. Hate is a Republican't virtue.

Posted by: SKVAM1 | December 21, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I am incensed. It is Lindsay Grahm that owes this entire country an apology for voting against repeal of DADT. Lindsay Grahm is a bigot, which, to me, is the lowest form of life there is, and Lindsway Grahm is UNFIT to serve in the US senate. His opinion on ANYTHING is worthless. He should resign. And take with him that rightwing scum Kyl.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | December 21, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

'basically is going to have his work product ignored and the treaty jammed through in the lame duck'....you know he wanted to go there, you could almost hear a 'jammed down our throats'.

If Republicans (Hello Lindsey, Hello Mitch) could be any bigger closet cases I can't figure it....The homoerotic dog whistle is really loud.

Posted by: kindness1 | December 21, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Like John McCain used to make sense (oh, about a decade ago), Lindsey Graham used to make sense (oh, within the year).

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | December 21, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12: "I call it trying to save our nation from a bad treaty."

Funny, I would think the way to do that would be by voting it down. It seems bizarre that a treaty could be "bad," but would be acceptable if it were amended to modify the non-binding preamble.

"Kyl's work product is summarized here: http://kyl.senate.gov/legis_center/NewSTART_statement.cfm (be sure to click on both links there too)"

Let's see, a "policy statement" that consists almost entirely of complaining about the schedule and that there are other matters more important to deal with, when in fact the treaty was signed in April, subject to numerous hearings, and the vote was delayed *at the request of Republicans*. And did you actually look at the links? They consist of several pages from the Congressional Record of Kyl's statements during debate on December 16th and 17th.

Talk about waiting until the last minute and then pulling an all-nighter! If I had an eight-month project and my "work product" consisted of a few pages only created after the final deadline was announced, it wouldn't be considered a good-faith effort to produce a good outcome, and this shouldn't be, either.

Posted by: jimeh | December 21, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Graham knows he is going to be primaried by a bagger, so he is not going to go on record for voting for anything they might disapprove of -- which is just about anything that might be good for the country.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 21, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Prissy fit.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 21, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

First - why the hell does either party have a "chief negotiator" on a treaty? The executive branch negotiates treaties with foreign governments and the Senate either approves or rejects them -- did I miss something?

Second - if we are to have a "chief negotiator", why in the world would it be Kyl and not Dick Lugar? Lugar has dandruff with more foreign policy gravitas and experience than John Kyl.

Posted by: zonk1 | December 21, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Senate owes Jon Kyl a foot in his lily white A** for opposing the New START treaty....

Posted by: andio76 | December 21, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

What? Jon Kyle is disappointed because the Senators relied on the military experts' advice instead of his?

Well, Lindsay Graham apologized and blew a gentle kiss on Jon's owie, so that should do it!

Posted by: kishorgala | December 21, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Lindsay Graham is going through an identity crisis.

Posted by: kishorgala | December 21, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Some GOPers are still holding up the first responder bill. Talk about dense. Politicizing a bill to help provide health care for the very people who gave everything they had to rescue victims on 9/11. Everyone should support that kind of help. The first responder bill should be passed unanimously.

Dear friends from the GOP--Pass the first responder bill before this session ends.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | December 21, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

OK, so given that the US Senate employs some real lamebrains (most but by no means all of whom wear an 'R'), tell me why it makes sense to have a clubby rule that allows any ONE of these dim-shits to hold up the nation's business. It's absurd. It just encourages these idiots to think that their power and egos are more important than anything else on earth.

Posted by: ljac | December 21, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

That's OK.

They'll find out what's in it after they pass it.

Posted by: Benson | December 21, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

things r getting done, thats good for America, isn't that what everyones been whinging about, congress not doing anything?

It seems the things that have passed so far in the "lame duck" session, have a) bi-partisan support and b) broad backing of the American people, so i ask u, how is this shoving legislation down peoples throats?

Posted by: Chops2 | December 21, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Senators - stupid
Voters - more so

Posted by: therev1 | December 22, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah. The treaty was signed several months ago, and each time the Democrats wanted to bring it up, the GOP bailed. DeMint who was on the committee that conducted hearings, skipped most of the sessions, and now they want to drag their feet, because
a. they are rushed
b. they do not want important legislation rushed during a lame duck session.

Unless it is growing the govt. by creating Homeland Security or Impeaching Clinton for receiving a blow job

Posted by: HumanSimpleton | December 22, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Geez, what a drama queen!

Posted by: HughBriss | December 22, 2010 3:06 AM | Report abuse

So is Sen. Graham giving up his membership among the out of touch Neanderthals that are trying to block the treaty---no more of the conservatism that has decayed away the Republican Party and looks at the world through the fogged glass of an old rearview mirror and thinks that going no place is where all can more comfortably hide?

Though they are incapable of seeing it, the world changes and what they think they know is nothing more than distorted remembrances of long past threats that only hid from their understanding that terrorists do not need some place from which to launch their mischief with anything that has a return address.

These blockers had best try to find their way back to their cave and tend their herd of dinosaurs.

Posted by: Islewood | December 22, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

What a bunch of idiots these people who are against START are. A flat "No" to everything the President proposes because they can't stomach that a Democrat is in the White House.

What about serving the nation? START was started by Republican administrations and continued through Republican administrations, but because START II was signed by a Democrat, they just have to say "NO".

These republicans are not fit to serve in the Senate and should be impeached because they are so incredibly petty in their objections.

Kudos to those republicans that are voting for START II. You are doing the right thing - putting the national interest ahead of petty political concerns.

Posted by: WorkatHomeGuy | December 22, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Graham's "apology" to Kyl is disgraceful and shameful. He's actually *apologizing* because the Senate didn't indulge Kyl's senseless tantrum and demands for more information (after his issues had been addressed over and over again). It's too bad for Sen. Kyl that the Senate considered our national security more important than his ego.
The most positive outcome in all this is that Sen. Kyl will never again be somebody that the White House will need to consider when crafting nuclear policy. He disqualified himself by taking this all-or-nothing stance, and lost huge. On this issue, going forward, he's just another senator.

Posted by: dbitt | December 22, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Relax, people. Kissing the masses of their colleagues is part of a Senator's job. By sticking up for Kyl, Graham may be able to charm some support out of the Arizona Senator for, perhaps, some bi-partisan legislation or, probably, some earmarks for South Carolina.

You can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. Throw in a prayer or two, and you might get a tax cut!

Posted by: jboogie1 | December 22, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"Best friends" John and Lindsey each appear to have lost their minds in recent months. It would be much better for themselves and the country if they were to resign from the Senate and run off together to spend their "twilight years" in one of Cindy's 7 or 8 houses -- that is, if they can still remember where they are located.

Posted by: goldengateview | December 23, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Actually, this is just political grandstanding by Senator Graham and the Republicans.

1) First, lets give the President credit he skillfully maneuvered this session of Congress and won some hard fought victories that the Republicans probably thought they would defeat or least stall until the new session was seated.

2) Second, Sen. Graham and the Republicans are whipping their base "back into line". With the new members coming in and many other important issues on the docket. The Senator is "setting the tone" and sending a message especially to The Administration...Things are going to be different the next go around. I would do the same in their shoes and I'm sure The Administration was expecting it.

3) Republicans won some solid concessions in this treaty so for Sen. Graham to say they ignored the input of their "Lead Guy" Sen. Kyl well is not true. The Republican's wanted hands off "Missile Defense" and they got it (I'm glad it is in there!). They are reeling a bit because they thought that would be the show stopper and they could tout the "National Security" and "Weak on Defense" mantra and stall or kill this thing. More importantly put another chink in President Obama's armor. Score one for the President again.

To sum it up...basically The President, The State Department (Good Job, Madam Secretary!) and Mr. Putin really outsmarted them on this one (and a few others recently too!) and if you read between the lines that is what Senator Graham is trying to say here. I'm sure they (Obama & Putin) were all smart enough on both sides to figure how to navigate this thru their respective Legislative branches and clearly discussed it. So, when the U.S insisted that "Missile Defense" was not part of this treaty. The Russians did not balk at that as some maybe thought they would have. That my friends is called "Diplomacy and Statesmanship" ... Mr. President, Nice job sir!

Posted by: LordMo | December 23, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

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