It was Tuesday, April 19th, when Senator George Voinovich stunned Washington and much of the nation by refusing to sign off on Bolton’s confirmation in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until more information was gathered on Bolton’s performance record and views. That was six weeks ago.
At that meeting, Senators Biden and Dodd — and other Senators on the Committee — agreed to a Thursday, May 12th business meeting and vote as long as the administration complied with evidence requests made by Members of the Committee. Senator Dodd and Biden specifically mentioned the now-infamous NSA intercepts, which Dodd began requesting weeks before this April 19th meeting.
The deadline for Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to make “evidence requests” of the administation was set for close of business on Friday, the 6th of May. ALL evidence requests currently being debated between the White House and Senate now were filed before May 6th — and while Senator Lugar did not join in all 9 evidence requests made in a letter to the White House by Senator Biden, Lugar did join Biden in 5 of those requests — including the NSA intercepts.
It is now June 1.
President Bush has the gall to suggest that it is Senate Democrats who are stalling the Bolton vote.
With all due respect, Mr. President, it is time that you start reading again — and read (occasionally) this blog. You will learn that not only have your staff not provided routine information and materials that the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is required to ask of the administration in fulfilling its oversight function, but some on your staff have allowed the Bolton fiasco to become enormously important to your stature and that of your administration.
How did that happen?
Had you recognized early on that Bolton just was not right for the job, that the push-back was going to be more serious than anticipated, that the calculation that Bolton’s obscurity as a relatively unknown bureaucrat was blown apart when his behavior and views became subjects of kitchen-table discussion, then you could have just offered him the Ambassadorship to France or Germany (many apologies to my French and German friends) or a position in Dick Cheney’s office — maybe something akin to “Mini-Me” to Dick Cheney’s Dr. . .well, you get it.
It is the White House that has stalled this process — and rather than Senate moderates on both sides of the aisle being forced by intimidation-prone bullies in the White House to choke down a nomination that undermines American interests — it is the White House that is now choking on John Bolton.
— Steve Clemons