Monday, June 20, 2005

Bolton Blowback

[Updates as of 12 a.m. Tuesday are back on the main page.]

[Note: Back to my usual method, updates at the end of this post (including new statements from Voinovich and Chafee near the bottom). If you want the live-blogging from earlier, click here. ]

Alright, now that the second cloture attempt is complete (and failed), let's look at some of the immediate coverage. AP: "Democrats blocked another attempt Monday by the Senate to confirm John Bolton to become U.N. ambassador, delivering a second-straight setback to President Bush even as he left the door open to temporarily installing Bolton on his own."

NYT: Headline "Republicans Failed to Force Senate Vote on Bolton." "Senate Democrats once again blocked the nomination of John R. Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations this evening, rejecting pressure from President Bush to give Mr. Bolton a vote on his confirmation."

CNN: Headline "Vote on Bolton Delayed Again: Democrats defeat move to close off debate."

Still waiting on a full roll call tally so we can see who was missing.

Mike Allen of the WP on MSNBC says "all indications" are that there will be a recess appointment; David Gregory says so far at the White House they have been so far "reluctant" to discuss publicly the possibility of a recess appointment.

[Update: Senate roll call is up now, here. Those not voting were Republicans Conrad Burns (MT), Norm Coleman (MN), and John Thune (SD); Democrats Russ Feingold (WI), Tim Johnson (SD), John Kerry (MA), Herb Kohl (WI), and Carl Levin (MI). Most of these absences seem to have to do with base closure hearings behind held this week. Voinovich was the only Republican to vote no; I'm still not sure if that was a parliamentary maneuver to enable reconsideration of the cloture vote, or genuine opposition to cloture (hopefully some statement from Voinovich will be forthcoming. -- 7:38 p.m.]

[Update: AP says Voinovich, "who voted in May to advance the nomination, switched positions and urged Bush to consider another candidate." If true, that means (I'm fairly sure) that the Senate can't reconsider cloture ... which would make a recess appointment even more likely. More on this as the evening progresses. -- 7:57 p.m.]

[Update: The White House and Bill Frist called today's vote knowing full well that there weren't going to be enough senators present to invoke cloture. No member of the losing side (as far as I've been able to tell) voted with those opposing cloture in order to be able to reconsider the vote. It looks to me like the Senate is done with the confirmation, and has thrown the ball back into the White House's court. Unless Bush & Co. capitulate on the document and intercept requests now (and then procure unanimous consent in the Senate to move forward on an up-or-down vote without invoking cloture), John Bolton will not be confirmed by the current Senate. It'll be recess appointment or nothing. My vote: withdraw John Bolton's name and send up a nominee America can rally behind. -- 8:36 p.m.]

[Update: agrees with my stance on a recess appointment: "Bolton would be hobbled, seen as an interloper that the corrupt international body can simply outwait." All the more reason to take his name out of contention. -- 9:13 p.m.]

[Update: McCain was just on "The Situation with Tucker Carlson" on MSNBC (which only watched because I thought he might get asked about Bolton). But no. Nothing. Anybody surprised? How do these "journalists" keep their jobs? -- 9:32 p.m.]

[Update: The headline spin. WaPo: "Democrats Block Attempt to Confirm Bolton." Charles Babington and Jim VandeHei call the failure to invoke cloture "a setback for Bush, whose party controls the Senate, and the latest in a string of partisan impasses that also have stymied his efforts to appoint judges and restructure Social Security. Some senators said a recess appointment now appears to be Bolton's only hope, even though it would be politically contentious and would send him to the United Nations under a cloud. That action could come as early as July 2." They note "A senior White House official said last night that Bush will still press for a confirmation vote but has no plans for further compromises on documents and is considering a recess appointment." -- 9:57 p.m.]

[Update: NYT: "Democrats Block a Vote on Bolton for Second Time." Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports for Tuesday's Times, reminding us "The vote was a setback not only for President Bush but also for the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee." She adds a quote from a senior Republican aide that "Unless the White House and Democrats can resolve their dispute, it is unlikely that Senator Frist would make another attempt to confirm Mr. Bolton." Stolberg says both Democrats and Republicans said a recess appointment could "undermine both Mr. Bolton and the Bush administration by sending a representative to the United Nations without the imprimatur of the Senate."

Chafee notes there is a way out of a recess appointment: "release the papers." Stolberg quotes a statement from Voinovich on his vote-switch, who said has has received "a great deal of additional information on John Bolton's qualifications," which, along with conversations with other senators, "confirmed my belief that John Bolton is not the right man for this job." Voinovich said he hoped Bush would not continue pushing Bolton now, but would nominate a new candidate. An excellent idea. -- 10:22 p.m.]

[Stygius, Steve Clemons and Laura Rozen are always good additional sources for Bolton coverage, and The Yellow Line also has great commentary. Check them out as well tonight. -- 10:31 p.m.]

[Update: ABC's "Nightline" discusses the Bolton nomination, 11:30 p.m. Eastern. Tune in. -- 11:36 p.m.]

[Update: On "Nightline," Linda Douglass notes, correctly, that a recess appointment, while allowable, has never been done for a UN Ambassador. She adds that he's having trouble with the Senate Republicans, and says he's invited all 55 of them to the White House on Tuesday for lunch. Asked if Bush couldn't have just nominated a more palatable nominee, John Harwood urged the host to remember Bush's governing strategy: make the conservative base happy, and get just enough votes to pass things (a strategy which seems to be losing its sheen in the last few weeks).

Alright, I've about worn myself out for the evening; I'll be back tomorrow with more. If you're being linked directly to this page and want new updates, click back out to the main page. -- 11:42 p.m.]


At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Stygius said...

Nice coverage today.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger vbkim said...

First: Thanks for the play by play. Next: doesn't this situation frustrate you?

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Max Tutein said...

One wonders if Bush is even capable of choosing a more centrist nominee. Guess we'll never know since a recess appointment looms.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger JBD said...

Thanks Stygius (you too!) and vbkim. vb, yes, it's very frustrating. I am really disappointed that the Administration decided it was so important to nominate should an unacceptable candidate for this important post. I'm afraid, as max says, that we'll have a recess appointment, which is a real shame.

At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you tell the difference between a centrist Republican and a centrist Democrat on a dark night?

At 4:21 AM, Anonymous Phil S said...

Great work with your updates. Thanks. Recess appointment will probably happen as you say, on July 2, which will be missed by the general public celebrating the long holiday weekend!!


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