Ron Brownstein’s survey of today’s Bolton drama is very lucid and fair. He outlines the importance of Voinovich’s move, the angst in nearly every other political faction, and the willingness of the White House to do nearly anything to win.
TWN wants the White House to do nearly anything to win. In so doing, the White House loses.
Here is the opening to Brownstein’s insightful piece:
The tumultuous Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote to advance the nomination of John Bolton today distilled the polarizing political dynamics of George W. Bush’s presidency into a single illuminating day.
Like so many of Bush’s initiatives, the nomination of the blustery Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations energized conservatives, outraged Democrats and squeezed moderates in both parties.
And as he has many times before, Bush won the legislative fight by the narrowest of margins — maintaining just enough support from Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio and other conflicted Republicans on the committee to overcome uniform Democratic opposition and move the nomination to the floor on a party-line vote.
In that way, the vote demonstrated again Bush’s willingness to live on the political edge — to accept achingly narrow margins in Congress and at the ballot box to pursue ambitious changes that sharply divide the country.
Bolton survived today in really bad shape.
And what the opponents got to his nomination was the same thing that they got at the last business meeting when the vote got delayed — time.
There will be more time to tell the entire story of John Bolton.
I want to reconnect with Bill Kristol who called on Senator Frist some time ago to allow unlimited debate on the floor of the Senate to debate John Bolton’s qualifications to serve in this role.
Let both sides lay it all out.
TWN embraced Kristol’s proposal then — and is ready to go with it now.
Senator Frist, Senator Reid — what say you?
— Steve Clemons