Looks like I was most certainly wrong to count out the new START treaty. I do at least claim partial credit for noting that getting a given extra n GOP votes is much easier when you've already got a few in the bag. Either the line was going to hold or it wasn't, and it didn't.
That's why I'd be a little (just a little) kinder o the Republicans than Kevin Drum is here. I don't think the situation is indicative of cowardice, so much as pragmatism. The Senate leadership was very clear that they wanted Obama beaten on this, and the Senators who were inclined to jump ship made damn sure they'd have some company when they did.
Having spent so much time complaining that the Democratic Caucus in the Senate are so completely unwilling to toe the party line, there's a limit to how much I can rage against the discipline in their Republican opposites. I might despise their politics and their total lack of honesty, and I might be far happier if Senators would just fess up about their wish to follow their leaders' instructions rather than hear them spit out ludicrous contradictory bullshit (yeah, I know, might as well wish for the moon). None of that changes the fact that it doesn't seem cowardly to overrule one's own inclinations for the sake of party unity.
Of course, Drum is entirely right that if there's any time you should blow off your boss, it's when they're trying to make the world a more dangerous place in order to damage their domestic opponents, so I get where he's coming from. I'm just focussing on the big guns right now.vvMcConnell and Kyl deserve every ounce of contempt being directed at them right now.