Can McCain Broker a Deal on Bolton?
Carl Hulse and Douglas Jehl, the New York Times nuclear option and John Bolton beat-reporters respectively, team up today to suggest that Gang of 14 member John McCain is attempting to cook up another compromise, this time between the White House and Senate Democrats. McCain, a strong supporter of Bolton's nomination [he can't be right on everything], said Friday in an interview on FOXNews that he saw some merit in the Democrats' request for more information from the State Department (as Senator Lugar and others have also done). McCain added "I think that we can resolve this over the recess and get this thing done and get John Bolton to work. I'm sorry there is going to be a delay."
Democrats held up a final vote on Bolton's confirmation Thursday evening by withholding their support for a cloture motion. They have pledged to cease delaying as soon as they receive information from the Administration relating to "his conduct in two areas, involving an intelligence dispute over Syria and the handling of intelligence reports from the National Security Agency," as Hulse and Jehl write.
The story adds more background on Thursday's failed cloture motion, and also notes that Democrat Mark Pryor, who supported cloture on Thursday, said Friday that he will oppose Bolton's nomination on the floor when it comes to an up-or-down vote.
Bolton's nomination, for the umpteenth time, is on the rocks. His possible Democratic support now hovers around one (Ben Nelson of Nebraska), and his Republican support is eroding: George Voinovich and John Thune both have said they'll vote no. It won't take many more defections (four or five, depending on Nelson) to scuttle the confirmation completely. Bolton is far beyond "damaged goods" now - he will be the laughingstock of the United Nations, and completely ineffective in what the Administration says he's being sent there to do. His name ought to be pulled, and Bush should nominate in his place a strong conservative who will be able to get the necessary points across without the baggage now carried by Mr. Bolton.