Yeah, I was out of town, visiting my brother, dad and cousin in the sunny South (where it was under 30 this morning). My brother asked if I would blog about my trip, and I may.
Meanwhile, though, I could chat a bit about Jack Kelly's Column today. My overall reaction is to say a word that Mr Kelly does not: "deficit". So many of the Republicans in general and Tea Party people in specific ran on reducing the deficit. Here's Jack Kelly suggesting the Republicans hold the Start Treaty hostage to a commitment to spend huge new amounts of money to modernize our nuclear arsenal. Kelly is worried that our aging arsenal will not be seen as a credible threat (because nukes deteriorate). Yeah, buit what would be the reaction to our suddenly having a new set of nukes compared to the Russian's old set. Kelly expresses concern about China being a threat, which it is to some degree. However, I am not sure that giving the Chinese a new reason to fear us is necessarily a good move. Our previous President showed a willingness to invade one country based on a flimsy excuse, and we could elect another Republican in 2012 or 2016. Perhaps Mr Kelly is thinking about a near version of mutually assured destruction, one where our nukes are weighed against our debt that China is holding. Except that in that case we have an incentive to nuke China to cancel the debt (probably what Kelly has in mind).
In any event, Kelly thinks the Senate should wait until January to vote on the Start treaty. After all, the people have spoken in that they elected Republicans such that they are a majority in House, and six new members in the Senate. The people have spoken, and certainly would not want the current Senate to do anything until it's new members are there. Except I think the people were lied to ("the Democrats have done nothing/have expanded government to a larger size than ever before") and misled. Now, you may disagree with that assessment, or say "so what, too bad". But I think I am entitled to say the Democrats should do now what they can as much as Mr Kelly is entitled to say Congress should defer to the (supposed) will of the people.
Kelly pretty much tries to mislead us in this column as well, intentionally or otherwise. For example, he takes pains at the beginning of the column to tell us the treaty itself is a bad treaty (not in our national security interests), and that he will get back to that. Then a bit later he says something about how progressives are frozen in cold war thinking, and repeats that the treaty is bad, as if he had made his case. Now granted, he then complains about China and about how ballistic missile defense might be harmed by the treaty, but if that is part of his case, he makes it in the most confusing manner possible.
And as far as ballistic missile defense goes, I have not heard of a successful test ever since the program was started during the Reagan administration. All it seems like is corporate welfare for defense manufacturers. Maybe it is time to scrap the program (remember - "deficit"?).
Kelly tries to flash his "national security" credentials today, but mostly shows himself to be a transparent shill for the Republicans. I do have to say, though, he risks angering those new darlings of the Republicans, the Tea Party, some of whom are ready and willing to cut defense as well as Medicare and Social Security.