Thursday, May 26, 2005

Nuclear Bolt?

I'm subbing for POYS today.

Well, just when we thought the week couldn't get any worse for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the Democrats were right back at it today filibustering President Bush's nominee for UN ambassador, John Bolton. Rumor had it earlier in the day that the Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, had promised Frist the necessary votes to cut off debate, a claim that Reid denies. Either way, whatever feelings of good will there were after Monday's compromise to head off the nuclear option are clearly gone. Frist and his whip, Mitch McConnell, might want to check their head counts in the future before holding embarrassing votes like this one.

(Reid insists that the Democrats aren't actually filibustering Bolton, just trying to delay a vote until they get more documents from the State Department. Does this line remind anyone of what they said about Miguel Estrada?)

The Democrats have already promised to filibuster two of Bush's remaining judicial nominees - Myers and Saad - who weren't covered by Monday's agreement. Suffice it to say that if they persist with the Bolton and judicial filibusters, the nuclear option will be back faster than it took to elect Ratzinger as pope.

One odd twist in the whole affair is the irascible Senator Voinovich of Ohio. After nearly breaking down in tears on the Senate floor yesterday in a speech opposing Bolton, Voinovoich voted for cloture today. While he argues that Bush is entitled to an up-or-down-vote on his nominee, one would think that if Voinovich felt so strongly about Bolton he would vote against cloture.

In any case, Frist has been badly damaged by this. Is it possible that a Lott comeback is in the making?


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