This in. . .but please note that what I have is all rumor. No one will talk — but the rumors indicate some effort by the White House to invest more in acquiring Senator Lincoln Chafee‘s “aye” vote in favor of John Bolton’s confirmation hearings.
The President is going to lead a 5-member delegation to attend the Pope’s funeral. Air Force One lifts off on Wednesday. John Bolton’s hearings are Thursday morning. Lincoln Chafee allegedly wants to tag along, and some in the White House think that this would be a great way for the President to seal the deal on Chafee’s support.
I think Senator Chafee needs to know that the world is watching. If he votes in favor of John Bolton, he needs to do so knowing that there is a long list of concerns that moderates have about the competency and ethical composition of John Bolton to serve as America’s Ambassador to the United Nations. The concerns expressed on TWN run far beyond Mr. Bolton’s particular views about multilateralism or about the institution of the United Nations — and cover questions regarding the manner in which he managed his current position and nearly all of his earlier job responsibilities.
If Lincoln Chafee does spend a couple of days bonding with Bush during the solemn occasion of Pope John Paul’s passing — then I hope he will give us equal time in his office or at some mutually agreed venue, in Dupont perhaps, with a set of Ambassadors, national security experts, intelligence officials, and other policy practitioners who would like to share their own views with Mr. Chafee to balance out the White House’s wrong-headed confidence in Mr. Bolton’s candidacy for this important job.
If Chafee goes, the hearings will be rescheduled — and that gives us more time to fight.
If Chafee stays, the hearings should proceed on schedule and Mr. Bush will not have had his time to seduce Senator Chafee in Air Force One.
I would prefer Senator Chafee fly independently if he really wants to attend the Pope’s services, but we may not get that wish.
Again, this is rumor — but I wanted to let the public know that the White House is clearly putting the screws to Senator Chafee.
Stop the presses. . .As I was writing this, Reuters now reports that Bill Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, and former President George H.W. Bush are scheduled to attend the funeral with President and Mrs. Bush.
That bumps Chafee, I think. . .but there may be a Senate delegation pondering this travel. If anyone has news, please drop me a line.
This is all fascinating intrigue — and would have been interesting if Chafee had gotten on to Air Force One for this gathering of world leaders at the Vatican.
— Steve Clemons