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April 19, 2005
More Republican Disarray In Senate

As if the constant retreat on judicial nominations didn't demonstrate the lack of effective GOP leadership in the Senate clearly enough, today's embarassment at the Foreign Relations Committee certainly underscored the fecklessness of the Republicans in garnering effective support for the President's agenda and nominees. Today's victim left twisting in the wind was played by John Bolton, and the role of Brutus was filled by George Voinovich (R-OH):

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed a scheduled vote Tuesday on President Bush's pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when a Republican member balked at voting during a contentious hearing.

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the committee's Republican chairman, had pushed for a vote on John Bolton's nomination Tuesday afternoon.

That plan was derailed after a member of the panel's Republican majority joined Democrats in seeking a delay so the committee could consider new allegations about Bolton's conduct. "I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton," said Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio.

Voinovich may have played Brutus in this little drama, but the author of the play is Bill Frist. How difficult can the Republicans make the confirmation process? Frist knew that Bolton would get heavily scrutinized, and this shows that either the GOP leadership failed to properly prepare even the committee members for the predictable attacks of the Democrats or did not inform the White House of the lack of will that would be shown Bolton by FRC Republicans.

Don't get me wrong. Bolton makes an excellent candidate for a sick and dysfunctional United Nations. Turtle Bay does not need another milquetoast diplomat uttering soothing, why-can't-we-just-get-along cliches and excusing the corruption and incompetence of the Annan regime. The UN badly needs immediate reform, and it will only get it if Western nations start sending no-nonsense, tough-minded and tough-mouthed representatives to the UN like John Bolton.

Frist should have ensured that the Republican FRC members knew this, and also knew the slime that Democrats would throw to resist Bolton's candidacy. That's part of the leadership's responsibilities, as well as preparing for waverers and keeping them in line. Frist managed to keep Chafee from flopping, but apparently no one checked in with Voinovich. He didn't check in with Chuck Hagel either, who told reporters that he might not vote for Bolton once he gets to the full Senate.

Ohio Republicans should send a message to Voinovich to get him back on board to approve Bolton's nomination. The rest of the party should ask themselves if this Senate majority has any hope of keeping the caucus in line, or if Frist plans on continuing to make Harry Reid look like a political genius.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 19, 2005 11:15 PM

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» Someone didn't get their back scratched and now Re from The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill
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