The Weekly Ass Clown – 38 GOP Senators who voted against ratifying disability treaty

Posted on December 9, 2012

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ass clown /as kloun/ n: an abject failure who is simultaneously arrogant, condescending and obnoxious. Synonym: douchebag

clown picEarlier this week, the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a UN treaty that would ban discrimination against people with disabilities and was modeled after the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act that George H.W. Bush signed into law, was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 61-38. The ratification needed two-thirds majority to pass. 

On the floor of the U.S. Senate sat, in his wheelchair, former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS), who was released from Walter Reid National Military Medical Center just to see this vote pass. As the vote approached Sen. Dole witnessed moving speeches by John Kerry (D-MA) and others supporting the ratification of the treaty. During the vote, several members took the unusual step of voting aye while seated at their desks, out of respect for Mr. Dole, 89, a Republican who was the majority leader. Once the former Senate leader and 1996 GOP Presidential runner-up left the chamber, 38 GOP Senators defeated the treaty.

So if the UN Treaty is virtually identical to the U.S. ADA, then why oppose it?

The RWNJ party line was that the treaty would infringe on U.S. sovereignty. Among their fears about the disabilities convention were that it would codify standards enumerated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child — and therefore United Nations bureaucrats would be empowered to make decisions about the needs of disabled children — and that it could trump state laws concerning people with disabilities.

The 38 GOP Senators’ arguments are summed up well by Dan Turner in the Thursday’s LA Times:

Such as the treay’s imaginary attack on home schooling, an obsession for some social conservatives second only to their right to spank their children. Search for the word “school” in the document and you’ll find references to the importance of accessible school buildings and playgrounds, but nothing about requiring disabled kids (or any kids) to attend school.

But that didn’t fool Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. Noting that the treaty says that where disabled kids are concerned, “the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration,” Lee offered this riff:

“We all want to support the best interest of the child, every child,” Lee said. “But I and many of my constituents, including those who home school their children, or send their children to private or religious schools, have justifiable doubts that a foreign U.N. body operating out of Geneva, Switzerland, should decide what is in the best interest of the child at home with his parents in Utah or in any other state in our great union.”

Then there is the argument that the treaty could lead to the euthanasia of disabled children. Here’s former U.S. Sen Rick Santorum, writing in WorldNet Daily:

“The best interest of the child” standard may sound like it protects children, but what it does is put the government, acting under U.N. authority, in the position to determine for all children with disabilities what is best for them…. In the case of our 4-year-old daughter, Bella, who has Trisomy 18, a condition that the medical literature says is ‘incompatible with life,’ would her  ‘best interest’  be that she be allowed to die? Some would undoubtedly say so.”

Finally, there is abortion. In a column in the Hill, Susan Yoshihara, senior vice president for research of the Catholic Family and Human Institute, writes: “On the day it was adopted in the U.N. General Assembly, delegates from 15 nations struck a note of warning that the text could be interpreted as including a right to abortion.”

Maybe they did, but the closest the treaty comes to mentioning abortion rights — and it’s not close at all — is a provision that says disabled people should have “the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable healthcare and programs as provided to other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based public health programs.”

Let’s clarify a few things for the right-wingers.

  1. the treaty does not infringe on U.S. sovereignty in any possibly way. No U.S. laws would change as a result of the treaty. NONE
  2. the treaty is a human rights treaty negotiated by the George H.W. Bush administration, which has been ratified by 126 nations, including China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Syria, and Saudi Arabia
  3. When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the treaty with bipartisan support in July, Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) explained the proposal simply “raises the [international] standard to our level without requiring us to go further”
  4. bureaucrats in Geneva aren’t going to determine U.S. or state law
  5. home schooling would not be affected in any way
  6. medical treatment for children with disabilities would not be affected AT ALL

The RWNJs love their black helicopters, conspiracy theories and end-of-the-world nonsense they have ascribed to the United Nations. Afraid that the UN’s blue helmets will trample all over their “God-given” rights, RWNJs have once again embarrassed the United States in the eyes of the world for no reason other than paranoia, conspiracy and utter douchebaggery. To you, the 38 Senators who voted Nay… you are this week’s Ass Clown! Well done, Senators.

NAYs —38
Alexander (R-TN)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lee (R-UT)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Paul (R-KY)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)
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Posted in: Ass Clown, Politics