I wasn’t sure that New START actually would have died when Sen. Kyl argued today against voting on it during the lame-duck. But this statement from Vice President Biden makes me think it’s lights-out.

Failure to pass the New START Treaty this year would endanger our national security. Without ratification of this Treaty, we will have no Americans on the ground to inspect Russia’s nuclear activities, no verification regime to track Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal, less cooperation between the two nations that account for 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, and no verified nuclear reductions. The New START treaty is a fundamental part of our relationship with Russia, which has been critical to our ability to supply our troops in Afghanistan and to impose and enforce strong sanctions on the Iranian government.

President Obama has made an extraordinary commitment to ensure the modernization of our nuclear infrastructure, which had been neglected for several years before he took office. We have made clear our plans to invest $80 billion on modernization over the next decade, and, based on our consultations with Senator Kyl, we plan to request an additional $4.1 billion for modernization over the next five years.

When you have to start out by arguing for the thing on the merits, that’s a really bad sign. New START is an unobjectionable treaty. The arguments against it are tendentious bullshit, dismissed with a roll of the eye. The value of monitoring the Russian nuclear arsenal and the hazards of not monitoring it are too obvious to recapitulate. The objections are about politics. So if the Obama administration doesn’t have a good political argument for New START, that’s it. You see one?