In the most recent May 23rd edition of Newsweek, Howard Fineman writes in his article, “Ready to Blow”:
Still this is the Moderates’ Moment, and for a paradoxical reason. With the rest of the Washington machinery in GOP hands, conservative activists understandably expect results.
But leaders such as Bush and Frist can’t deliver without the help of the Senate’s eight or nine unpredictables; the GOP’s 55-45 majority simply isn’t enough to obliterate the habit of cumbersome caution. Nominees can get ground up in that machinery.
One could be John Bolton, the president’s controversial choice for ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton survived the Foreign Relations Committee only because of the acquiescence of Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and George Voinovich of Ohio.
But if the GOP succeeds in watering down the filibuster rule for judicial nominations before Bolton comes up, Democrats will yak him into oblivion. (emphasis added)
Fineman makes an interesting point that I had not myself considered but which makes perfect sense.
While TWN suspects that Frist bucked the White House on the timing of pushing a Bolton vote because it would weaken his hand in the looming battle over judges, it also becomes clear that if the Republicans actually win the battle on judges, Democrats will never yield on Bolton. They will filibuster forever on his nomination — and time buys even more potential Republican defectors who are uncomfortable with the high-handed tactics of the White House.
Bolton becomes the battle to lose so that Republicans can play nice with Democrats on some front.
I’m not advocating that the Democrats yield on judges. I think it’s important, however, to think through scenarios that could play out from this point forward.
Odd thing is that whether or not Dems win or lose in the battle over the judges, Bolton’s chances of confirmation have seriously deteriorated today.
But don’t worry, TWN is SURE that the “White House is still confident that John Bolton will be confirmed.” The White House is always confident — even when losing.
It’s an attribute Democrats might learn from.
In any case, the tide remains positive for those opposing John Bolton’s nomination to the U.N.
— Steve Clemons