Monday, June 20, 2005

Democrats Winning Bolton Confrontation

Another vote for cloture and another setback for the John Bolton UN ambassadorship nomination. After some great and detailed live blogging of the evenings cloture debate, Charging RINO covers the media’s immediate reactions and offers some thoughts of his own.

This is clearly a filibuster and it’s apparent it will remain a filibuster unless the White House turns over the documents concerning alleged improprieties committed by Bolton. Or, the White House can appoint Bolton through a recess appointment over the Fourth of July weekend. Question is, why won’t the White House release the documents? From all reports it doesn’t sound like they contain anything more damning than what we already know.

So, is the Bush administration just playing a game of hardball or is there something condemning in the documents? If the documents aren’t anything special, then which is worse for the White House, to use the recess appointment and pretty much admit defeat or bow down to the Democrats and release the documents and appear weak that way?

The White House and the Republicans in the Senate have been outplayed on this one. They probably should have released the documents quickly and without comment. By standing their ground, the Democrats have run them over. But the Democrats are walking a thin line here. By brining up the documents in the 11th hour, the Dems can reasonably be accused of reneging on their original promise not to filibuster Bolton.

Once again, both sides have done more to exasperate the issue than resolve it.

18 Comments:

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous T Diddle said...

Sorry, your statement is poor analysis. The Dems only win if Repubs give them these ridiculous smokescreen documents. It's quite comical to watch the Dems slowly wither on the vine. They know that voter demographics alone have doomed their future, so now they're trying desperately to slow down the inevitable demise of their party's power by acting like children in the senate (Bolton, Gitmo/Durbin, judicial confirms). What a joke they've become to the political process.

 
At 10:03 PM, Anonymous St. Paul said...

The decision of the Democrats to deny a vote on Bolton lacks credibility. They say that they need the documents to make a decision, yet I know of no Democrat who says that he needs those documents in order to determine where he stands on Bolton. What Bush is saying is "Make the decision on the basis of what I have given you."
What the Democrats are saying is that "We know we are against him, but we want the documents to hopefully show how terrible Bolton is so that we have some cover."

The Democrats have already spoken out against Bolton. They don't need the documents to make a decision. Rather, what they are continuing to do is engage in the same obstructionist policies that led to the defeat of Daschle. They are not Democrats, but anti-Democrats, in that they don't believe in majority rule. This is not an issue of minority rights. No minorities are being hurt by an appointment of a UN ambassador. Rather, it is the use of malfunctioning rules that allow a minority to obstruct the will of the majority.

 
At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Mike said...

Sorry, Mr. T. This is a loss for the ultra-con Republicans, by any measure - again.

Even though they control two (and many would argue 3) branches of government, the President is unable to get a "win" on something as simple as an ambassadorial nomination. Yet they insist on pressing for Bolton. There are far better qualified, conservative candidates who would do the job well. Yet the White House refuses to acknowledge this man is a terrible choice, even in the face of strong (and behind the scenes, widespread) resistance in their own party.

These *legitimate* document requests have been around since April - yet the White House has refused to respond to them. The obvious question is why?

The one thing we know is that what's withering on the vine is this president's "agenda," while his lame duck status is growing like a weed.

 
At 10:25 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

After 4th of July we shall see who wins… It’s called a “Recess Appoint”and I would almost bet you that Bush will use it. I for one think he’s had just about enough of this FILIBUSTERING!!!!

 
At 10:28 PM, Anonymous VoiceOfReason said...

Forget parties for a moment. Forget Bush's imprimatur.

By all available evidence, Bolton is a bad manager, suspicious and dismissive of experts, vicious and retaliatory with subordinates, and has difficulties controlling his emotions. All of these statements have been documented; Republicans are aware of his failings but continue to support him out of unquestioning party loyalty.

Bolton would be fired from any major corporation for his attitude and ineptitude, but has proved useful to his party's need for a rabid attack dog on occasion. As the face and voice of the United States to the UN and the World, surely we can do better? The Dems aren't blocking for political reasons; they're blocking to try to save the declining prestige of our country in the eyes of the world.

Bolton at the UN is a clear signal (to allies and terrorists alike) that the Bush government has no interest in working for global peace and prosperity. It is a clear signal of Bush & Co.'s intent to treat the world as an unruly child. Bolton at the UN would cause untold damage to America's future.

Consider this: The Democrats are risking a great deal continuing to block Bolton. Surely this is more than just "trying to embarrass Bush" as some Republicans have claimed. Republicans KNOW that Bolton is flawed. What possible reason can be given for supporting Bolton other than party loyalty? Is America's future worth less than blind, unquestioning support of a party nominee? Surely we can find someone better ...

Any and every attempt to block Bolton should be supported, regardless of party. Find a better qualified nominee; America DESERVES better.

 
At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Don said...

The committee chairmen (both GOP and Democrats) both acknowledge that there was nothing in the documents that was incriminating or detrimental in the documents.

The reason that the white house adminiostration (irrespective of which party is in the white house) has not and would not give the documents is that it would provide a open door in the future to endlessly ask for documents on any future confirmation. So in some way the Democrats hope that they never give them the documents because it would backfire on them in the future if they were ever to regain the whitehouse. Any credible politicians or stateperson knows this! So the president has to lay all the cards on the table, and probably the documents with a declaration that never again will any administration be filibustered by documents. Their needs to be some real pulpit pounding and to show the facts! and how much the adminstration has actually cooperated. Remember the UN is more of a problem that Bolton and it is time that we have a little rebel rousing which we haven't seen since Jean Kirkpatrick was our UN ambassador.

 
At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

68 tons of plutonium . . . bottlenecked by Bolton?

Yeah let's give this guy a another job . . .

Corporate mentality . . . the inept rise to the top!

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous brian said...

I have to disagree with the characterization of the request as "last minute." The committee members requested those documents from the White House in April. The White House's recalcitrance in this matter is impeding Bolton from once again failing upward.

Ultimately, it will not matter as the President will use a recess appointment to get Bolton into the post. The legitimacy of such a appointee is indeed tainted, but such questions have never impeded this administration from ruling as it sees fit.

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

This is for- 5:19am Anonymous.
Bolton... 68 tons... Bottleneck...
Where's the proof of this? Not the he said, he said, she said BULL...

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the Dems can reasonably be accused of reneging on their original promise not to filibuster Bolton."

When did the Dems promise this? This is a totally separate issue from the judicial compromise.

This guy's a bad choice, even some Repubs are against him. There's a reason appointments are supposed to be approved by the Senate. To make sure the people are right for the job. So the Senate's doing it's job and Bush doesn't get his way this time. Tough cookies!

This administration is the biggest bunch of bullies yet. It's their way or the highway, no compromise, no communication, take it or leave it. The man only got 51% of the vote for crying out loud. He probably wouldn't even win if the election were held today. It's not like we all should bow down to him.

If there's nothing in the documents, release them and it'll only make those demanding them look bad. If there is something there, it only proves that he was a bad choice to begin with and Bush didn't do his homework....again.

 
At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

> 68 tons of plutonium . . . bottlenecked by Bolton?

> Yeah let's give this guy a another job . . .

> Corporate mentality . . . the inept rise to the top!

AubreyJ said...

>> Where's the proof of this?

>> Not the he said, he said, she said BULL...

Proof? Well let's get those 'documents' opened and we'll all see what proof "...he said, he said, she said BULL..." or not.

As the Anonymous at 12:10PM just said...

> If there's nothing in the documents, release
> them and it'll only make those demanding
> them look bad. If there is something there
> it only proves that he was a bad choice to
> begin with and Bush didn't do his homework
> ....again.


What's the big whoop anywhoo? You already said “Recess Appoint”.

Let the President use his “Recess Appoint” powers. That'll show 'em!

WooHoo . . .

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

That's what I thought...........

 
At 5:26 PM, Anonymous St. Paul said...

As was demonstrated again, Bolton would receive a majority if the Democrats would allow a vote to take place. The Democrats that I have heard say they are against him, so why do they want the documents? They know how they plan to vote. They just want to win this one using their minority status.

The Democrats are using the process which have allowed a minority to prevent the will of the majority from prevailing. This has nothing to do with minority right and everything to do with power politics.

Also, I would ask, when was the last time you heard the press talk about Bolton's positive accomplishments and expertise. If he were totally inept, he would have been out of the government back under Bush I. Those of you engaging in Bolton-bashing forget that he has been in the game a long time and is considered an expert and a seasoned diplomat. What if you were judged only on your weaknesses with no one ever mentioning your positive attributes? That is what the press is doing to Bolton.

 
At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Power politics? What do you think politics is about. Wearing tutus and ballet shoes? Get real.

The majority of these folks (from both sides of the aisle) fight like dogs on the floor then together all go buy each other martinis at our expense.

Oh and Yeah! Blame it the press...

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger Jami said...

that's a very reasonable post, but democrats are not filibustering. they're debating, and they're not being given the information they need for informed debate.

exactly who did bolton try to discredit using classified information? does the name valerie plame ring a bell?

 
At 1:43 AM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

Paul said: The Democrats are using the process which have allowed a minority to prevent the will of the majority from prevailing.

I don't agree that a simple majority should be able to pass legistlation or appoint judges or other officials. Otherwise, what are the 49 in the minority there for? We have to have laws and appointments that at least attempt to reflect input from the other half of the country.

If you can't convince 60 US Senators that something is a good thing, then maybe you shouldn't do it. I mean come on ... just release the documents, get the up-or-down vote that was promised, and move on. It's not rocket science.

 
At 2:25 PM, Anonymous St. Paul said...

The Constitution says that only a simple majority is necessary to pass a bill, including a nomination. It is the Senate rules, which the Senate can change whenever it pleases, that requires a 60% level to close debate.

This country has always been run on a simplie majority or less.
Most of the recent Presidents have been elected with less than a simple majority.

While it is nice to hope that Senators make up their own mind and vote their consciences, I am afraid that is no longer true, especially on controversial issues.

I am old enough to remember the Watergate episode, where many Republicans did side with the Democrats. And I certainly remember Monica-gate, where not one Democratic Senator voted for Clinton's impeachment. The nation has to run on a simple majority. Otherwise, nothing would get done.

Tell me one Senator who hasn't made up his or her mind on Bolton. If you do, then I will say that there might be a reason for the President to release the documents. I think every Senator has already made up his or her mind. Therefore, they should vote and not engage in obstructionist tactics.

 
At 12:37 AM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

Paul said: "This country has always been run on a simple majority or less."

Well, that's not quite true, at least in terms of the filibuster rule. You're right about it being a 'rule of the Senate' rather than in the constitution. (At least, I'll assume that's right ... don't really feel the need to double-check that.) But the filibuster has been around for over 200 years.

And I'm old enough - though just barely :) - to remember the "Southern Democrats" who voted with Reagan to pass Star Wars and tax cuts, and the Republicans who voted with Clinton to change welfare and balance the budget. Most of the time this bipartisnship comes out of neccesity, due to a split in party between the executive branch and the congress. But sometimes - such as now - a single party holds both. At those times, we desperately need the idea and the use of the filibuster, so that the opinions of the minority are, at least in some way, accounted for.

I agree with you that party line votes seem to be more common than ever before. Still, there are some Senators who do seem to vote their conscience. McCain, Graham, Kennedy, and Biden come to mind. Even when I disagree with those guys I find myself supporting them for their independence. (But then, I'm from North Carolina, home of Jesse Helms. Probably never agreed with him on a single issue, but I loved the fact that you damn sure knew where he stood.)

 

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