Senate’s shame


If ever there was a portrait of the Republican Party’s embrace of extremism, the Senate floor provided the dismal picture this week.

There was former Sen. Bob Dole, once the GOP nominee for president, seated in a wheelchair, urging the Senate to support the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Although he was greeted respectfully, the deference quickly dissipated.

Because of Republican opposition, including that of Ohio’s Rob Portman, the U.N. treaty failed to get the two-thirds Senate vote necessary for approval. Mr. Dole might as well have stayed home with his good sense.

It has come to this: With a few honorable exceptions, Republicans can’t even support a treaty that exports America’s best values overseas — and all because of paranoid critics who see the U.N. symbol as the mark of the beast.

Last week, former senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum again used one of his children as a political prop — this time a daughter with a birth defect. He urged the Senate to reject a treaty that would help anyone with disabilities traveling overseas.

It’s outrageous. The idea that this treaty, negotiated during the George W. Bush administration, would compromise American sovereignty — and threaten activities such as home schooling — would be laughable if it were not so pathetic. For shame.