Political Animal

Blog

November 27, 2012 3:10 PM Another Attack on the Sovereignty of America, God and Family!

By Ed Kilgore

It’s hardly news any more when conservatives oppose ratification of a treaty reflecting widely shared American values. Concern for U.S. “sovereignty,” often based on conspiracy theories about the United Nations and other multinational organizations the U.S. helped create, has become a reflexive excuse for a kind of rigid unilateralism once associated with the John Birch Society or even older, isolationist conservatives.

But the current conservative fight to kill ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is especially interesting because the most avid opponents are the cultural conservatives who often profess solidarity with the disabled as part of their fight against legalized abortion. Anti-choicers and home-schoolers, however, have declared war on the convention on the theory that it confirms the “reproductive rights” of people with disabilities, and/or might confer other rights upon them that intefere with the absolute power of the family (presumably a servant-leader male-directed family) to raise children as they wish.

Thus it’s not surprising that Rick Santorum is at the head of this particular parade in the Senate, which raises the ire of WaPo’s Dana Milbank:

The former presidential candidate pronounced his “grave concerns” about the treaty, which forbids discrimination against people with AIDS, who are blind, who use wheelchairs and the like. “This is a direct assault on us,” he declared at a news conference….
[Mike] Lee, a tea party favorite, said he, too, has “grave concerns” about the document’s threat to American sovereignty. “I will do everything I can to block its ratification, and I have secured the signatures of 36 Republican senators, all of whom have joined with me saying that we will oppose any ratification of any treaty during this lame-duck session.”
Lame or not, Santorum and Lee recognized that it looks bad to be disadvantaging the disabled in their quest for fair treatment. Santorum praised Lee for having “the courage to stand up on an issue that doesn’t look to be particularly popular to be opposed.”
Courageous? Or just contentious? The treaty requires virtually nothing of the United States. It essentially directs the other signatories to update their laws so that they more closely match the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even Lee thought it necessary to preface his opposition with the qualifier that “our concerns with this convention have nothing to do with any lack of concern for the rights of persons with disabilities.”
Their concerns, rather, came from the dark world of U.N. conspiracy theories. The opponents argue that the treaty, like most everything the United Nations does, undermines American sovereignty — in this case via a plot to keep Americans from home-schooling their children and making other decisions about their well-being.

And so, Santorum brought his famous daughter Bella, who suffers from a severe birth defect, to the hearing where he fought against acknowledgement of the rights of people like her.

This is where the pretzel logic of the Right can lead.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Perspecticus on November 27, 2012 3:13 PM:

    "But the current conservative fight to kill ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is especially interesting..."

    You can only write that paragraph because you forgot the Culture Cons only give a sh@t about people before they are born.

  • schtick on November 27, 2012 3:26 PM:

    The arrogant ignorance of the teapubs never ceases to amaze me. Especially when they one-up each other to the point of voting against themselves. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

  • boatboy_srq on November 27, 2012 3:33 PM:

    Courageous? Or just contentious?

    Try contemptuous.

    It sounds like the ADA is yet one more target of the GOTea: no more "specialness" for folks with disabilities. And it's remarkable that "Ahmurrcan greatness" ceases to be so great when the UN agrees - though given how much support they gave to Cap and Trade, and to the healthcare exchange model for the ACA, until Democrats concurred at which point both became "creeping soshulism", it's less remarkable than might be. There's a zero-sum element here: the GOTea is all right all the time, and the USA is all great all the time, unless and until there's agreement from outside the GOTea or outside the USA.

  • JackD on November 27, 2012 3:36 PM:

    News flash: Santorum is an airhead.

  • Peter C on November 27, 2012 3:47 PM:

    “I will do everything I can to block its ratification, and I have secured the signatures of 36 Republican senators, all of whom have joined with me saying that we will oppose any ratification of any treaty during this lame-duck session.” - Senator Mike Lee (R-Idiot)

    Shorter Mike Lee: I will block everything before, during and after the lame-duck session.

    What a blight.

    "The agreement’s Article 7 directs, “States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them … .” Families beware: “Ratification of the CRPD would fundamentally alter the parent-child relationship in any family where the child has a disability,” writes home-school advocate Michael Farris.


    No, Michael Farris, even children with disabilities and home-schooled children ALREADY HAVE 1st amendment rights! All Americans may express their views freely, even idiot home-school advocates.

    "Pro-life advocates see a potential abortion mandate in the pact. Article 25 orders signatories “to provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programs as provided other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based public-health programs.” Senate Democrats insist the treaty wouldn’t override U.S. law on abortion, but pro-lifers worry the sweeping language could do exactly that. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, attempted to add an amendment that would exclude abortion from the phrase “sexual and reproductive health,” but it was defeated in committee."

    So, mandating EQUAL TREATMENT could be a 'potential abortion mandate'????? This is absurd on its face.

    I think Republicans are just too scared to actually READ the treaty and automatically oppose anything dealing with the UN as an autonomic reflex. Sadly, their constituents don't require higher brain function as a minimum requirement for their congressional representatives.