START Stoppers

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National Review has surveyed the field of likely 2012 Republican presidential contenders and found that not one supports ratifying President Obama’s New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia in what’s left of the lame-duck Congress. (Only one–libertarian New Mexico Gov. Gary “The Next Ron Paul” Johnson, a longshot at best should he run–supports the treaty in principle, just not the lame duck timing.) Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels declined to answer.

That pits the prospective 2012 GOP field against a mighty foreign-policy lineup that includes George H.W. Bush, Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, James Baker, and George Shultz. Not that base-pleasing presidential politics has anything to do with it!

You can also read something I wrote about the interesting possible connection between START’s prospects and last week’s tax cut deal here. The sticking point, however, may no longer be Senate GOP opposition to the treaty: Enough Republicans have now publicly committed to the treaty that it should, in theory, have enough votes to pass. (Although in Washington, public commitments are often less than they seem. Last week’s failed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal vote in the Senate shows how Senators who say they support a measure often take a dive on the question of “process.”) Moreover, I’m told that Senate Democratic leaders are still working out their schedule for the coming days, and START’s potential place in that schedule remains unclear.