Former Senator Bob Dole, 89 years old and in a wheelchair, went onto to the floor of the Senate today to urge his former colleagues to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Mr. Dole, a disabled veteran, has been one of the leading voices urging ratification of the treaty, which seeks to bring the world closer to the high standard set by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark civil-rights law enacted under President George H.W. Bush.
One by one, according to Roll Call, the senators approached Mr. Dole to pat his shoulder or clasp his hand, making gestures of respect for the man who was for many years the Republican majority leader.
Then he was wheeled away, and all but a handful of the Republicans bailed out on him. The treaty failed. It needed a two-thirds vote to pass, or 67 votes, and fell six short.
So much for America’s support of a global agreement “to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities.”