Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Pleasant Surprise

I have to admit, I had resigned myself to the probability that Bolton was going to be confirmed and all we'd be left with is an endless series of mustache jokes.

But somehow, a pleasant surprised occurred yesterday derailing the efforts of the Republicans to steamroll his nomination:

But Voinovich, who had sat silently through 75 minutes of debate, suddenly announced: "I've heard enough today that gives me some real concern about Mr. Bolton." The former Ohio governor, who has opposed the White House on such issues as deep tax cuts, urged the panel to "take a little bit more time."

When two other Republicans -- Chafee and Chuck Hagel (Neb.) -- sided with Voinovich, Lugar had no choice but to agree to let committee staffers pursue the various allegations and reconvene the committee the week of May 9.

Voinovich told reporters he had begun the meeting prepared to vote for Bolton's nomination but was struck by the information presented by the Democrats. Had Lugar insisted on calling a vote, Voinovich said, he would have voted against Bolton. "I want more information" about Bolton, he said after the meeting, "and I didn't feel comfortable voting for him."

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) thanked Voinovich "for his courage and independence," and urged Bush to withdraw the nomination. But the White House said it remains confident in Bolton.

"You have some Democrats who continue to raise unfounded allegations," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "Bolton testified for more than eight hours before the committee, responded to many follow-up questions in writing. . . . And we are happy to address any [other] questions the committee members might have. We look forward to him being confirmed and believe he will be."

I saw the important Voinovich moment and I have to say his switch was both surprising and put both Chaffee and Hegel to shame. It was just stunning.

Not that it will keep the Bush Administration from continuing to behave like the power mad asses they are...starting with the chief ball scratcher herself:

On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told her senior staff she was disappointed about the stream of allegations and said she did not want any information coming out of the department that could adversely affect the nomination, said officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.


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