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Karen Miller

From Jeff Gannon,, a Voice of the New Media (yes, him! But quite a voice, a commentator).

see: www.jeffgannon.com


Karen Miller
George Mason University

June 28, 2005

Senate Democrats in quagmire on Bolton nomination

The White House has Senate Democrats over a barrel with the nomination of John Bolton to be Ambassador to the United Nations. Last week, Harry Reid & Co. thought it had a win when Majority Leader Bill Frist announced that there would be no more attempts at cloture after the most recent effort to get an up-or-down vote failed. But following a lunch meeting at the White House, the Republican leader awkwardly reversed course. Clearly, a plan was underway to not only make sure Bolton would be dispatched to New York, but that Democrats would suffer a political price for their partisan opposition.

The Senate minority leadership has tried to “Bork” President Bush’s choice for the UN in order to assert its relevance in the governing process that voters have withdrawn from them in ever greater proportions in the last three elections. It blathers on about principled opposition, but the case barely passes the laugh test. The first objection was that Bolton abused subordinates. If that were sufficient to disqualify someone from public service, then the emasculating, lamp-throwing former First Lady should forget about her presidential aspirations.

There was a charge that Bolton “unfairly” tried to get an analyst reassigned, but that was a non-starter. Democrats finally decided to hold out for the names of intelligence personnel contained in various “intercepts.” It began with 7 names then expanded to 36. Both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed the documents and said that there is no basis for the allegations of misconduct.

The White House is refusing to release the information to the full Senate and is claiming Democrats are “moving the goalposts.” It continues to call for a confirmation vote, but won’t be disappointed if cloture fails once again. The minority faces a dilemma: It can stand fast with the filibuster after which the President would make a recess appointment during the Independence Day holiday or capitulate and give the up-or-down vote. Either way, Bolton will represent the United States at the UN. Democrats have to decide how they want to lose.

If they cave in and allow an up-or-down vote, the last vestige of their perceived influence in the Senate would evaporate. It would also inflame the Democratic base that keeps pressing for greater resistance to the Republican majority. That’s why it won’t happen.

Instead, the next cloture vote will be great political drama. Both sides will take to the floor, Republicans appealing for fairness and Democrats wailing about “minority rights” and “advise and consent.” With every single senator casting a vote, cloture will be defeated, and the President will make a recess appointment. The Democrats will have another round of wailing after Bush gives Bolton the job, but public opinion on this one will come down on the side of majority rule, despite the bleating of the liberal media.

Moreover, the Democrats will have given Karl Rove all that he needs moving toward the 2006 mid-term elections. His remarks last week had Democrats scrambling to deny that they are weak on security issues, but the debacle they created with the Bolton nomination has put them in precisely that spot. Democrats will have put partisan politics above national security by keeping the UN post vacant during a critical point in the global war on terror.

The Democrats have painted themselves into a corner on this one and the ramifications are even more profound when observed a broader context. The chastened minority will have little desire to suffer the same humiliation on a larger scale when a Supreme Court vacancy occurs. An agitated base will turn on the impotent leadership, a spectacle worth watching.

It’s “game over” before the coin-toss, the evil genius has done it again.

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