Thursday, May 26, 2005

Good Mourning, Fellow Choirmembers

"Lousy leader?" Are you kidding me? How about "serial abuser?" Subordinate predator works well too. Obsessive-compulsive? No, too kind. Ruthless. Ethic-less. Impulsive. DANGEROUS. Getting closer I think. Hypocrite? Madman. Liar. Ok, ok, get the point. I don't like the man very much. Do a Goggle search and then read below.

Quick change of topic --- Is anyone else feeling as disgusted as I do over the "Nukular Option?" Why can't I feel reassured like many do that the Dems had a victory of some sort? I take no consolation in others saying that Frist and his minions suffered defeat. I just feel bad. Real bad. More lies, no solutions, no actions except ones that aren't working and lots of preaching to the choir and whistling in the wind, passers-by chatting, moaning and watching life as we know it slip away and do so with full permission from us until and unless someone, somewhere, emerges as a leader.

You know anyone?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Heated debate over John Bolton -- President Bush's controversial pick to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- spilled over onto the Senate floor Wednesday, with a key Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee saying it would be a mistake to send a "lousy leader" like Bolton to such an important position.

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, read off a list of complaints by Bolton's subordinates and charged that Bolton, a State Department undersecretary, could undermine U.S. foreign policy efforts.

"Is John Bolton the best possible person to serve as the lead diplomat to the United Nations? Will he be able to pursue the needed reforms at the U.N. despite his damaged credibility?" Voinovich said.

"I believe we can do better and we owe it to the United States of America, the U.S. State Department, our soldiers overseas, our children and our grandchildren to do better than Mr. Bolton."

He added, "I think he's a lousy leader."

Voinovich letter
Voinovich, who has rankled the White House with his vocal opposition of Bolton, earlier this week sent a letter to his Senate colleagues recommending against Bolton's nomination.

He read a copy of the letter on the Senate floor and said if the vote were held in secret, Bolton would not pass.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, allowed the debate on Bolton's nomination to go forward shortly after noon and said he hopes a vote can be held by Thursday evening.

According to numerous Republican and Democratic staffers contacted by CNN, it looks increasingly like Republicans will have enough votes to confirm Bolton as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Simple majority
Bolton needs a simple majority to be confirmed. There are 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats and one independent in the Senate.

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recommended against Bolton, saying he has a reputation of bullying his colleagues, of taking facts out of context and of exaggerating intelligence.

"This guy should not be going to the U.N.," Biden said. "I wish the president had taken another look at this and found us someone (else)."

He added: "Is this really the best the president of the United States can do? Is this the best among the many tough-minded, articulate, conservative Republican foreign policy experts?"

Biden said the most qualified Republican that Bush could send to the United Nations would be his father, former President George H. Bush.

Warner: A 'most able' candidate

Moments after Biden's scathing critique, Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, "I respectfully disagree." Warner called Bolton a "most able" candidate who would represent the United States admirably.

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, kicked off the debate, saying Bush deserved "his nominee represent him at the United Nations."

Key moderate Republicans
With the debate under way, staffers for key moderate Republican senators -- Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska -- told CNN their bosses had decided to support the Bolton nomination.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine said that as of a couple weeks ago Snowe was not opposed to Bolton's nomination and she didn't "think it was going to be a problem." But she added that Snowe might change her mind, once she got to the floor.

Biden and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Connecticut, have pushed for the administration to turn over information relating to why Bolton sought the names of government officials whose communications were secretly recorded.

Dodd said he is not "interested in a filibuster," but added he is willing to stall at least temporarily in an effort to push the administration to release the NSA intercepts.

"We have been stonewalled from the beginning," Biden said. "The main question is: Did Bolton attempt to badger or attempt to change the views of intelligence officers?"

Senate theatrics
In a moment of Senate theatrics, Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Maryland, interrupted Biden on the floor, saying he didn't understand why the administration wasn't providing the information and asked why they were giving this "backhanded treatment of the institution of the United States Senate."

"These are the very names that were provided to Mr. Bolton, is that correct?" Sarbanes said.

Democrats have charged that Bolton doesn't have the necessary diplomatic skills for the job, having often bullied or intimidated his staff until they agreed with his viewpoint on issues. One of Bolton's former colleagues testified last month that Bolton was "a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy."

Bolton's supporters, including the White House, argue he is a seasoned government official who can spearhead reform at the United Nations.

After a delay of several weeks, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee two weeks ago voted along party lines, 10-8, to forward the nomination to the full Senate, but it did not offer a recommendation.

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