Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sharing a post-Bolton confirmation hearings cigarette... 

So, it turns out that the Dems, with some help from responsible Republicans, managed to bottle Bolton's nomination up in Committee. I certainly hope Bolton's mustache is wilting...

I followed the story throughout the day on The Washington Note, but left for home before the denouement. Here's the AP story:

John R. Bolton's nomination as U.N. ambassador suffered an unexpected setback Tuesday when a Republican-controlled Senate committee scrapped plans for a vote in favor of a fresh look at allegations of unbecoming conduct.

I guess Bill "Hello Kitty!" Frist is too busy running for President to master the details of parliamentary procedure. I mean, they're in the majority and control all three branches of government, plus a major network, several newspapers, and most of the media whores. This should have been, um, a slam dunk for the Republicans, right?

And speaking of conduct unbecoming:

Biden read from what he said was a letter from a U.S. Agency for International Development worker in Kyrgyzstan who alleged Bolton harassed her - not sexually - while he was in private practice representing a company.

"She's prepared to provide an affidavit. The letter she sent in, and I'm going to just take a second here, it says, 'When I was dispatching a letter to AID, my hell began. Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel, throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door, and genuinely behaving like a madman. I eventually retreated to my hotel room and stayed there. Mr. Bolton then routinely visited me to pound on the door and shout threats.'"

Well, look. I think the Dems are out of line on this one. I mean, at least we know Bolton's not gay! (Unless he's overcompensating... Hmmm....)

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee set no new date for a vote, but a delay of at least two weeks seems likely...

Amd little foretaste of the nuclear option:

Republicans hold a 10-8 majority on the panel, and Lugar had sounded confident early in the session that he had the votes to prevail. He pushed hard for an immediate vote, over loud objection from Democrats.

The tide turned when Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich spoke for the first time. He did not attend Bolton's two-day confirmation hearing last week but had been presumed to be a supporter.

"I don't feel comfortable voting today," Voinovich said.

Another Republican, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, also expressed reservations about a quick vote and warned that he may not support Bolton's nomination if it does move to the full Senate.

Responsible Repbublicans! Who'd a thunk it? Translation: Bolton must be much worse than we've heard. And this is interesting:

After the meeting, Voinovich said he had planned to support Bolton but changed his mind after an impassioned critique from Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. Voinovich said he does not fear retribution from the White House, which had counted on solid Republican support on the committee.

"The passion on the other side on this, I don't think is political," Voinovich told reporters. "I think they raised some legitimate issues. I think we ought to find out what they are. I think we ought to get the information, get a chance to have (the allegations) rebutted," Voinovich said.

Translation: When Dems "lead from the heart" (Salon, via Kos) it works.

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