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May 01, 2005


Well, the NYTimes also just published a whole kiss-up article to Bolton. SusanHu at Booman rips it apart: http://boomantribune.com/story/2005/4/30/231319/021

I want to be wrong, emptywheel. But this:

I think it is becoming increasingly evident that this was Bolton's role.

simply means that Cheney (and Bush) will push and squeeze every R Senator until they are steamrolled. You and other thoughtful people are pointing out why Bolton should fail, and why the Senate should see it's in their best interest that he does.

I am being a contrarian and suggesting that, like Frist (and maybe American CEOs are an analogy, which would explain Bush), the R Senators are too shortsighted and interested in short-term goals to see what's best long-term. That seems to be their approach to the nuclear option, too.

Ah but there are a number of senators who are uncomfortable with the nuclear option, too.

I guess we can't know until later this week (nuclear) and next week (Bolton) how this is going to play out. That's why I think the difference in leadership (Reid v. Fristie) is so important. BushCo didn't have ANY CLUE Voinovich was going to flip. Fristie has NO CLUE what many of the moderate Republican Senators are thinking. It's clear with his "compromise" offer on the filibuster that Reid does know--and that he understands how to play the game to convince those who can be convinced. And given how close the vote is on both these issues, Reid gives us a small advantage. It's not clear yet whether it will be the needed advantage. But it may well be.

There's only one currency, one axis along which control of the political branches can divide: party lines.

There may be a thousand reasons for breaking with the president and rejecting Bolton, but the one with the strongest appeal will unfortunately remain the retention of political power by the party. Everything else can be rationalized away. "It's what the president wants, and he's entitled to his team and his strategy." Yadda, yadda.

This president has flipped the usual short-timer/career calculus, even as between the executive and long-serving Senators.

I agree totally with your assessments of Reid and Frist. We don't hear the same peans to greatness about Frist that we do about Reid or DeLay, do we? But then again, I never assumed Frist was running the show on the other side of the aisle. Why doesn't that piss off more R senators? Because they didn't think he was, either.

9/11 has warped the branches of government so far in the direction of the Imperial Presidency that I just don't know if this group of Sens is capable of seeing the forest for the trees. The hope would be in the John Warners who've been around the block, not the Lincoln Chaffees (hardly a Profile in Courage).

Well, maybe I'm totally wrong (wouldn't be the first time) but at least we get to see in a week or two. But I get the feeling that we win both or lose both.

We agree on a lot, DemFromCT--It'll be the John Warners and not the Lincoln Chafees. And it'll be zero or two, not a split decision, on these two. And like I said, you're wiser than I.

We shall soon see!

My bet is still no vote.

You can squeeze the toothpaste tube just so many times, and it gets harder and harder toward the end. The last time you go at it with the steamroller. After that you can steamroller it all you want, but you don't get any more toothpaste.

Are we there yet? Hard to say ... but the White House will have to use that steamroller on the nuclear option, and Bolton, and Social Security, and some untenable budget/appropriation measures, and an extended draft by other means.

Frist may not know where his votes are, but there are people who care where their votes are, and can hear the lame duck quacking, and whose career ambitions and partisan loyalties extend beyond W's end of days.

Not saying they will rise up as one, throwing off the yoke at this juncture. Just saying you don't want to push them too far, too many times, and in the current atmosphere they have ways of pushing back a little.

In the end: a lot of arm-twisting, but no vote.

You are all discussing this issue as observers only, as if nothing active can be done. These senators are political animals, and their careers could be in great danger if the right logical connections are brought out actively in public.

You know what I mean, but just in case I am wrong, let me state it again. Americans are dying and suffering in Iraq for a war that is now proven to be based on false pretenses. Poor/false intelligence was the "out" mechanism for Bush, and the way to pass off all responsibility for this suffering. If Bolton could be tied actively to why the Bush administration got/created bad/poor intelligence and that the system really did not fail but was forced to fail by the adminisrtration, then I thin all hell breaks out. No Senator could support Bolton or Bush any longer. It is a catastrophe in the making for Bush, and all it would take is the proper public relations campaign done NOW to tie Bolton to the reason why we got false/poor intelligence!

Is such a public relations campaign on this issue in the works for the next few days, and if not, why not?

Just to throw in another twist, it's possible that they could keep the nomination off the floor so that it won't be filibustered, and in turn won't create pressure to go even more nuclear than they're already going.

I don't know at all whether the Religious Right would move of its own volition in this direction, but if Bolton were filibustered, it wouldn't take long for someone on the right to realize that the nuclear option could fix the situation, and that as a presidential nominee, the "advice and consent" clause creates just as much an "obligation" for an up-or-down vote on Bolton as is thought to exist with respect to a judicial nomination.

With the polling going the way it is, I doubt they'd want more on their plate.

You are all discussing this issue as observers only, as if nothing active can be done. These senators are political animals, and their careers could be in great danger if the right logical connections are brought out actively in public.

I'm from CT. If I were from a state with a moderate R Sen, I'd be less an observer. Political animals, you say? Only if you can vote for or against them do they care.

As to suggesting Bolton caused Iraq (a living example of "tell me what I want to hear"), it may be so but it's too esoteric yet and that issue still isn't ripe. Blair's woes need to percolate first and Bush needs to be even closer tied to failure in Iraq than is the case right now. The time will come, but maybe not by mid-May.

It does seem clearer and clearer that Bolton represented the "real" Bush (or at least Cheney) foreign policy and that Powell was just the window dressing for the moderate Republicans and the rest of the world, because a snarly face like Cheney's is a hard one to put out to the world. But that is exactly what they are doing by going to the mat on Bolton. They are dropping all pretense of having to "play nice" to placate the weak stomached.

How long will this last? Even Nixon eventually lost his support within his own party. RonK's metaphor of the toothpaste tube is very apt. You can only squeeze these people so many times, and the only question seems to be whether the end of the tube comes before the 2006 election or the 2008 election.

And of course Bolton can be tied to the bad intel on Iraq that facilitated Bush taking us to war at a cost of over 1,500 American lives and 12,000 wounded. He was the one who pushed the Niger story, for example, and consistently bad mouthed the UN inapectors and the IAEA who were absolutely right about Saddam's weapons or rather lack thereof.

Slightly OT, but there is a GOP argument for up or down votes on judges but not necessarily on executive branch nominees. Ostensibly, there is room for delay as a negotiating tactic in the ordinary case -- you can press the nominee to prioritize this or investigate that or support the other thing ... whereas this would be improper on both sides of a judiciary confirmation, where there's nothing to negotiate.

If you find any Republicans capable of driving the executive business agenda who are also interested in logical consistency as opposed to carrying water for the White House, let me know.

But as it happens, a parallel Republican argument has been that an up-or-down vote is the only permissible exercise of "advice and consent," not just the consent part. Their definition has written "advice" out of the equation, and reinsterting it for executive nominees leaves us with a consistency problem for strict constructionists.

Old Issue -- but did Senator Danforth really resign from the UN job because his wife disliked spending time in NYC -- or is there more to why he was such a short termer, then to be replaced by Bolton. No two nominees could be more different, and while I have long had many disagreementw eith Danforth -- I don't believe he is evil minded about the UN. From one to the other -- from the mild Canon who did Reagan's funeral at the Washington Cathederal to the demolition bulldozer. If nothing else it is an extreme change in strategy.

There's a much stronger argument that judges shouldn't be confirmed on just an "up or down vote." Appointees work for the executive branch, and there's some argument for deference as long as the president makes a remotely sane appointment. Judges are an independent branch of government, not subservient to the executive, so there's no argument that the president's preference should be given any great deference if he's not willing to build consensus in the Senate.

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