Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bolton Update

Without further ado, your semi-regular update on the ridiculousness that is the John Bolton nomination:

Sheryl Gay Stolberg (where's Carl Hulse? is he sick?) reports in Wednesday's New York Times that:

- Democrats emerged from their weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday and said they intend to continue blocking Bolton's nomination until the Bush Administration provides the information they have requested. Chris Dodd: "This is now beyond Bolton. It is a question of whether or not the Senate should have a right to information pertaining to a nominee."

- DNI John Negroponte rejected Dodd's compromise offer made yesterday that would have offered a way (albeit an odd one) out of the gridlock.

- Majority Leader Frist said he wasn't sure when the next vote on Bolton will occur, "but both sides said it was unlikely this week."

Steve Clemons has an interesting post noting some previous positions of Senator Frist regarding stalling cloture on executive nominees. Some examples: "Filibuster, cloture...as a scheduling [matter] or to get more information is legitimate. But not to kill nominees." (11/22/04); "Cloture has been used in the past on this floor to postpone, to get more information, to ask further questions." (5/18/05). That is of course a legitimate position, and as the Democrats have said, they do not intend to filibuster Bolton's nomination into the ground, they merely seek the information they deserve from the Administration. It's not too much to ask.

The Bolton nomination continues to distract from the real issues facing America. President Bush, withdraw his name and choose a stronger candidate so that the Senate can get down to business.

[Update: The LA Times adds this morning that one Democrat the Senate leadership had been trying to persuade to vote for cloture on Bolton, Dianne Feinstein, said she was inclined "at this stage" to continue debate. And in an even bigger setback for Bolton supporters, Arkansas' Mark Pryor, who voted for cloture last time, said Tuesday he is uncertain how he'll vote next time, saying "Senator Dodd tried to be very reasonable in finding a compromise solution here."

Also, I meant to include a link to this Slate piece by Robert Wright last night and forgot, so here it is. -- 8 June, 7:42 a.m.]


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