[Marxism] Panel sends unendorsed Bolton to Senate. Voinovich to vote "no"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu May 12 14:12:11 MDT 2005


Panel Sends Bolton Nomination to Senate

Thursday May 12, 2005 8:46 PM

AP Photo WCAP102

By BARRY SCHWEID

AP Diplomatic Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - A divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday
sent the nomination of John Bolton to be U.N. ambassador to the full Senate.
But it took the rare step of refusing to endorse the blunt-speaking
conservative.

The move kept the contentious nomination alive, leaving its fate in the
hands of the GOP-run Senate. By not recommending that senators approve
Bolton's nomination, the committee delivered a slap at President Bush in one
of the first big battles of his second term.

``It doesn't appear that Mr. Bolton has the confidence of the majority of
this committee,'' said Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the senior Democrat on
the panel. ``And I would suggest that it may be worth the president's
interest to take note of that.''

The panel acted after a pivotal Republican member, Sen. George Voinovich of
Ohio, voiced opposition to the nomination, calling Bolton arrogant and
bullying. Yet Voinovich broke a committee impasse by agreeing to let the
full Senate vote rather than joining Democrats' effort to kill the
nomination in committee.

All 10 Republicans voted to send the nomination to the floor and all eight
Democrats voted no.

Democrats vowed to try to defeat or block the nomination on the floor.

Bolton, 56, who is now the top arms control diplomat at the State
Department, has strong ties among political conservatives both inside and
outside the administration.

The panel delayed its vote for three weeks after four Republican members
asked for more time to study accusations that Bolton bullied subordinates
and exaggerated intelligence assessments.

Three of the four said they'd decided to support Bolton, but Voinovich said
he could not. ``The United States can do better than John Bolton,''
Voinovich told the panel during a debate lasting over five hours.

The panel's Republican chairman, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., declined to
hold a vote on sending the nomination to the Senate with the committee's
endorsement once it became clear that Voinovich's opposition would have
caused a 9-9 defeat, with a majority needed to prevail.

Instead, he embraced Voinovich's suggestion to send the nomination to the
floor without a recommendation. Committees usually endorse the nominees they
send to the Senate for a vote.

Other Republicans fell in line behind Voinovich's suggestion.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who earlier expressed misgivings about the
nomination, told the panel he decided he had ``enough confidence in this
president to take him at his word, and take Mr. Bolton at his word.''

But with Bolton short of enough votes for committee approval, Hagel
announced he would support Voinovich's proposal to send the nomination to
the floor with no recommendation.

Despite Voinovich's sharp criticism of Bolton, who now serves as
undersecretary of state for arms control, the White House was clearly
relieved that the Ohio senator had agreed to let the full Senate decide.

Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said the White House is now confident Bolton
will be confirmed by the full Senate.

``We respect Sen. Voinovich's decision, but there are many people who agree
with the president that John Bolton is the right person at the right time
for this important position,'' he said.

Democrats have not ruled out using procedural delays to try killing Bolton's
nomination in the full Senate. It would take the votes of 60 of the 100
senators to stop the delay.

Voinovich called Bolton ``the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic
corps should not be.'' He said Bolton would be fired if he was in the
private sector.

``That being said, Mr. Chairman, I am not so arrogant to think that I should
impose my judgment and perspective of the U.S. position in the world
community on the rest of my colleagues,'' he added.

Voinovich told reporters he would vote against Bolton in the full Senate.
Will Bolton win eventual confirmation? ``I have every faith in my
colleagues. No one really is excited about him. We'll see what happens,'' he
said.

Republicans hold a 10-8 edge on the panel. All eight Democrats have said
they would vote against Bolton. A single ``no'' GOP vote would deadlock the
panel and keep it from sending the nomination to the full Senate, though GOP
leaders could try procedural moves to bring it to the floor.

Voinovich had been the only holdout of four GOP committee members whose
public misgivings about the Bolton nomination caused a three-week
postponement in the panel's deliberations.

He said he hoped the full Senate, where Republicans hold a 55-45 majority,
would reject the nomination.

``What message are we sending to the world community?'' Voinovich asked.

The Republican chairman of the panel, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana,
defended the nomination, while conceding that ``Secretary Bolton's actions
were not always exemplary.''

Bolton misjudged the actions of subordinates and sometimes clashed with
superiors in his current role as the top arms-control diplomat at the State
Department, Lugar said.

But weeks of intense Senate inquiry turned up no evidence that Bolton did
anything that would disqualify him as Bush's choice for the United Nations
job, Lugar said.

``His blunt style alienated some colleagues. But there is no evidence that
he has broken laws or engaged in serious ethical misconduct,'' Lugar said.

Biden opposed sending the nomination to the floor without a recommendation.
``I think we have undermined our authority and shirked our constitutional
responsibility,'' Biden said.

Later, Biden told reporters he did not know if Bolton's vote could be
stopped in the full Senate. ``Would I have liked it better to have a 'no'
vote? Yes,'' he said.

Committee Republicans and Democrats alternately praised and denounced
Bolton's qualifications and direct manner.

``We are not electing Mr. Congeniality. We do not need Mr. Milquetoast,''
said Sen. George Allen, R-Va., arguing that Bolton would be an effective
agent for change at the United Nations.

But Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, last year's Democratic presidential
nominee, portrayed Bolton as a loose cannon whose pronouncements would
prompt other diplomats to ask, ``Who is he speaking for?''

VOINOVICH SAYS HE'LL VOTE AGAINST BOLTON ON THE SENATE FLOOR
May 12, 2005

CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- Senator George Voinovich has agreed to send John
Bolton's nomination as U-N ambassador to the Senate floor, where he'll vote
against him.

At a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing on the nomination today, the
Ohio Republican said he'll join Democrats in voting against Bolton in the
committee. But he says committee members "owe it to the president to give
Mr. Bolton an up-or-down vote on the floor."

He says he hopes the full Senate will reject the nomination. Democrats need
a Republican to join them to vote against sending the nomination to the
floor.

Its top Democrat says the committee will undermine its own authority by
sending the nomination on to a full Senate vote. Joseph Biden tells
reporters he's not sure if Bolton's nomination can be stopped on the floor.

Senator John Kerry says Bolton is a loose cannon. The former Democratic
presidential candidate says America's "ability to advance our interests" at
the U-N is at stake.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-05-12-05 1332EDT

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