It’s hard to imagine a more disgraceful moment for the modern Republican Party.
The Senate was voting on whether to accept a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled — a treaty that was reportedly modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the great accomplishments of President George H.W. Bush, a Republican.
Former Republican senator Bob Dole, 89, sitting in a wheelchair, was on hand to lend his support. Dole, of course, was disabled long before old age rendered him a wheelchair-user — a consequence of his heroism in World War II.
And Republican senators voted against the treaty, 38-8. Not a single Democrat voted against it. Sixty-one senators were in favor — five short of the two-thirds needed.
We in Massachusetts, at least, can hold our heads high: Sen. Scott Brown was among the hardy band of Republicans who voted in favor. And Democratic Sen. John Kerry delivered what the New York Times called “his most impassioned speech all year” in urging his fellow senators to approve the treaty.
After losing the election in part because they alienated African-Americans, Latinos, gay men and lesbians, you would think that Republicans wouldn’t be looking for another group to infuriate.
You would be wrong.