Schieffer: Pass The Treaty

Here's a memo for Senate Republican leaders as the Senate prepares to vote on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Frankly, I don't blame you for thinking the Democrats were playing partisan games when they demanded that you let the Senate vote on this treaty. They knew Senate support was thin but figured you didn't like the treaty, would never let it come to a vote and they saw that as an opening to accuse Republicans about being bad guys against arms control.

So I can't really blame you for calling their bluff and scheduling a vote this week.

But here's the problem: If you allow this treaty to come to a vote and it dies, as it surely will, a terrible and dangerous message will go out to the rest of the world, that America no longer cares about arms control.

That could be a green light to restart the arms race, and that's why France, Great Britain and all of America's allies are urging you not to kill this treaty.

If you think the treaty is flawed, fine, postpone the vote and rethink it all later. I know beating the president at his own game would be fun for you, but some things are just too serious for partisan victories.

Besides, no one will remember the Democrats maneuvered you into all of this. They'll just remember Republicans killed a treaty that, according to the polls, most Americans wanted. And that's exactly the box Democrats were trying to put you in in the first place.