Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bolton Vote Delay

April 20, 2005
Chris Nelson's Take on the Bolton Vote Delay: Lugar Got What He Needed to Call a Day a Day

Chris Nelson sent this out yesterday as part of his 19 April Nelson Report:

Bolton. . .it may be that Republican Senators George Voinovich and Chuck Hagel have taken a stand which will empower a Republican center to emerge and hold on other issues.

At virtually the last minute today, both stepped forward to say they weren't comfortable voting on Bolton's nomination as UN Ambassador. A Foreign Relations Committee vote cannot now occur until after a recess, on May 9, assuming Bolton does not step down, as more and more stories surface (especially allegations of possible misuse of NSA intercepts). This nomination fight has been as instructive as it has been destructive. Argued purely on its merits, the case for Bolton has been that bullying and strong convictions, even if dishonestly pursued, are not automatically disqualifying.

Certainly compelling is the argument that, barring criminal or serious moral issues, the President is entitled to nominate the UN ambassador he wants. But as we took the liberty of editorializing last night, the Bolton fight is not "merely" about the facts, at least not any more. It's now mainly about power, specifically the power to force votes on ALL the president's nominations, regardless of concerns.

That's what this so-called "nuclear option" fight with Majority Leader Bill Frist is all about. . .Frist wants to change the rules to make judicial nominations a simple majority vote, instead of the required super majority of 60. Lose on Bolton, which would take Republican "defections", and the whole power play on conservative activist judges is at risk of unraveling. ...