Frist called for cloture on John Bolton’s confirmation vote because he thought he had the votes. They thought they were so in the clear that they did not need Arlen Specter on hand for the vote.
However, the next vote — when it occurs — will be much more deadly potentially for either of the losing sides of the Bolton Battle.
The White House seems to think that it can wear down Democratic resolve and get two Dems to switch to cloture. On the other hand, if the White House fails to concede on any of the three major outstanding evidence requests, I think that Senators — now better informed about the standoff — may actually join those opposing cloture.
Senator John McCain is one of those who feels that the White House tactics have been heavy-handed. McCain thinks that there is little credibility in Scott McClellan’s comments that Senator Dodd’s requests on the NSA intercepts are “another delaying tactic,” since the request was made in MID-APRIL, and Dodd has demonstrated great flexibility regarding the manner and form that the NSA intercept information is conveyed to Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The White House is arguing that it is holding the line on all of those who already FAVOR cloture. TWN says count again. I’m not going to out the Senators who are now favorably disposed towards battling the White House on cloture — but the line on their side is not solid.
And let’s just say that Frist thinks he has the votes all in order again. I say — let’s vote on cloture.
The other side will lose yet again — and John Bolton’s nomination will probably be over at that point; and Bill Frist’s reputation tarnished further.
This is no longer about Bolton. It is about Frist’s presidential chances — and whether he wants to gamble his national identity on win/loss records on judges or John Bolton. The White House is invested in Bolton; Frist is not.
The Dems and Republican moderates need to use that simple fact to their advantage in this stand-off.
Bill Frist — smart guy that he is — needs to learn quickly that his own political ambitions are best met if he wins most of these judges and then theatrically fights the fight on Bolton to the point where it won’t go further and lets Bolton languish for months in limbo, unresolved, stuck in Senatorial purgatory. . .with lots of other “internationalist” Republicans telling the White House that Bolton needs an alternative assignment.
— Steve Clemons