I've been reading Bolton Watch for some time. Apparently, the Democrats have the votes or are very near the votes to stop John Bolton on the floor in the form of a filibuster. John Bolton, you'll recall, is the US ambassador to the UN whose anti-UN leanings and general desire to undermine multilateralism led to a stinging defeat in the Senate last year. Bolton's failed nomination hearings were the first time Bush's foreign policy agenda was soundly defeated, and key to that was both a public outcry and Democratic unity in holding together a filibuster.
This time we should be in a stronger position, since Bush is less popular than he was a year ago, Iraq and the Bush foreign policy agenda is obviously a failure, and Lieberman was defeated by Lamont for the party nomination in August. Even so, there's still a big risk that Democrats could lose our nerve. Several Senators who voted against Bolton last time are now wavering, including Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Dianne Feinstein.
Perhaps they are holding their cards close to their chest. Perhaps they don't think this is a priority. Or perhaps they have switched their votes for some unknown reason. Regardless, I have no idea why these people make us whip them every single time on obvious votes like this. It's really frustrating. I mean Bolton is a rogue element pushing us to ignore the UN in encouraging action against Iran. He's a genuinely crazy man who thinks that hateful wingnut blogging is the same thing as journalism, and he's a key figure in Cheney's nationalistic and paranoid designs.
The Path to 9/11 propaganda piece is designed to increase the power of figures like this at the expense of real diplomacy. They are the cultural offensive paralleling the hearings for Bolton this week. Why these leading Democratic figures aren't publicly against Bolton - even though they opposed him a year ago - is just maddening.
I mean I know that Democrats like Schumer need to hear from the public once in a while, but every single time? Can't these leaders realize that a massive outcry about the direction of US foreign policy less than a year ago wasn't fake?
Arghh. Anyway, consider this preemptive kudos to any of these figures who come out against Bolton.
Update: Chris Dodd has rocked this fight. I particularly liked this line:
"My objection isn't that he's a bully," said Dodd, D-Conn., when Bolton appeared before the committee recently, "but that he's been an ineffective bully and can't win the day when it really counts.