As reported in the New York Times today [December 22, 2010], "Senate Set To Give Obama a Victory On Arms Control." Apparently, a "Bipartisan Vote Clears the Final Hurdle for a Nuclear Treaty With Russia." And this is happening despite the fact that Obama has "emerged politically wounded from last month's midterm elections...." Of course, this follows on the "politically wounded Obama" getting a tax deal done, getting Don't Ask Don't Tell overturned, and getting the Republicans to agree to continue funding the government for a "little while longer." Wow, is Obama ever wounded!! And as reported in the Times, "eleven Republicans...joined...to support the treaty...,despite a concerted effort by Republican leaders to sink the agreement."
Of course, this makes perfect sense, no? After months and even years of holding the Republicans together, the Republican leadership could not do it on this issue. Seems a bit strange, does it not? Of course, the Times provides no explanation or even speculation as to why this is happening, other than to refer to a split between "former cold warrior" types in the Republican Party and other, more newly arrived and empowered Republicans. This provides, of course, no explanation at all. And can you imagine how those Republicans just recently elected feel now? "Gee, guys," the Republican leadership is saying to those people. "It's really good to have you in Congress. Of course, as the lame duck session indicated, you are not in charge here. We are. And we mean to stay in charge even it means helping re-elect Obama."
See, that's one thing about our political parties and the "regulars" in them: They are more concerned with maintaining their own power than they are with winning elections. So, from this perspective, "insurgents," especially when elected in large numbers, must be "disciplined." The Democrats "disciplined" the "Blue Dog" Democrats in the last election and now the Republican regulars are "disciplining" the newly elected members, especially those who want to, genuinely want to change how Washington "works." Because if they, the new comers were actually successful in doing so, the regulars in the Republican Party would lose their power and status. And, of course, that is the last thing they want.