Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Small state, small senator

Senate Panel Delays Vote on Bolton for U.N.

"In a setback to President Bush, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed a vote on the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador after a Republican senator said he was not prepared to vote for him on Tuesday.

'I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton,' said Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, stunning fellow Republicans who were set to muscle Bush's contentious pick through the committee on a party-line vote.

Without Voinovich's support, Bolton's nomination faced being bottled up in the committee on a 9-9 tie vote that would not advance it to the full Senate.

After Voinovich's comment, Sen. Richard Lugar, the Indiana Republican who chairs the committee, agreed to put the vote off until after the Senate returns from a weeklong recess in early May.
Committee Democrats were gleeful. 'We're stunned,' California Sen. Barbara Boxer said. While Democrats knew Republican Sens. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska had reservations about Bolton but were still prepared to vote for him, Boxer said Voinovich took them by surprise.

Chafee said he was pleased the vote was postponed. 'I'm still listening,' he said, although he added he tended to support presidential nominees for nonjudicial appointments. "

Listening to what, Senator Chafee? The voices in your head? Let's set aside the fact that Bolton loathes the very existence of the organization in which he is to serve as a diplomat. What part of "serial abuser" and "manipulates intelligence to suit his views" do you not understand? What else do you need to hear to be convinced? Evidence of gunplay? The use of illicit drugs? Unnatural acts with peanut butter? What?

A few days ago, I suggested that given Chafee's voting record on reprehensible appointees, the press need not refer to him as a "moderate" anymore. At this point, "irrelevant" appears to be more fitting.


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