Thursday, November 09, 2006

Get Over Yourselves, Guys, You're the Minority Now

It's a new, humble Bush, we were told yesterday, after Donald Rumsfeld resigned, following Tuesday's Democratic election sweep.

Well, maybe, but it didn't last long:

President George W. Bush will make a push to get confirmation for John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations before power in Congress shifts to the Democrats, the White House said on Thursday.

The White House formally renewed its request that the Senate take up Bolton's nomination. But Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Democrats, said they continued to resist Bolton's confirmation and "he is unlikely to get a vote any time soon."

Bolton, the controversial former undersecretary of state, was blocked by the current, Republican-led Senate after Bush nominated him in 2005. But he has been serving as the U.N. envoy under a temporary "recess appointment" that allows him to serve until the new Congress convenes in January.

However, his prospects in the newly elected Congress look even less promising. Voters in Tuesday's election handed dominance of the U.S. House of Representatives to Democrats, and control of the Senate -- which has the power to confirm or reject Bolton -- is also expected to switch to Democrats pending the outcome of a race in Virginia. [L.S.: Allen conceded in Virginia earlier this afternoon.]

Steve Clemons broke this story, and he says Bolton is a dead man walking:

Word has just reached me from a well-placed source that the White House has continued to push John Bolton's confirmation prospects as US Ambassador to the United Nations despite the election outcome.

Another highly placed source has informed me that in just a few minutes Senator Lincoln Chafee is calling a press conference to state categorically that he will not support John Bolton's confirmation in the upcoming lame duck session.

The Bolton confirmation will be officially dead in a few minutes.

Some on the right are quite bitter:

I hope Bush or someone in the Repub. Party figures out that the Left's notion of -bi-partisanship is, give us what we want and forget everything else. Oh, yeah, and we'll stab you in the back first chance we get.

Bush coughs up Rumsfeld, so you think he'd get some slack on Bolton -- the best thing at the UN ... make that one of the only good things at the UN? Nah, of course not. If Bush doesn't cave on everything, he isn't being bi-partisan. Biden is a moron, anyway.

an aide to Biden is already expressing disappointment that Bush hasn't embraced the new spirit of bipartisan yadda yadda.

And Chafee pays back Republicans in his typical liberal style. I'm fine with him losing. He was in the wrong party, anyway. I'd rather the enemy wore the right uniform. With Chafee, I always had the sense Catholic Schoolgirl was his uniform of choice -- for wearing, not chasing.

Others are more realistic ...:

I don't get it. The plan supposedly is to try to push him through the lame-duck Republican-controlled Congress, but the Democrats have already filibustered him once before. They're not going to let him sail through now when they kill the nomination in committee in January.

I think Newsmax had it right this morning. He's DOA. Presumably Bush sent the nomination back up as a sop to the base, to force the Dems to shoot him down; after having handed them Rumsfeld's scalp yesterday, he must know that we wouldn't look kindly on Bolton getting thrown under the bus too. According to Andrea Koppel, reporting on this about a half hour ago for CNN, an aide to Biden is already expressing disappointment that Bush hasn't embraced the new spirit of bipartisan yadda yadda.

... even if not overly concerned with democratic procedure or that bipartisan thing:

Exit question: could he keep Bolton on with a second recess appointment? I heard someone on Fox say the other day that such a move would probably be legal -- but that they might not be allowed to pay him a salary(!).

Imagine that. I guess it would have something to do with trying to discourage presidents from doing end runs around the Senate confirmation process.

Some people who advocate using common sense and finding common ground can't seem to find either, themselves. Others are just lying on the ground kicking and screaming.

James Joyner has some advice -- grow up and get a clue:

Not surprisingly, the news has conservatives hopping mad. Tammy Bruce huffs, "You know, if the president is so desperate to make the Dems happy, why doesn't he just resign and then apply to be Pelosi's personal interior decorator?" Pam Oshry adds, "I say here, now, STOP THE INSANITY. Throwing our best, our brightest to the insatiable leftist beast makes them hungrier. Rumsfeld, now Bolton? WTF? and Why?"

Here's why: We lost six Senate seats Tuesday.

John Bolton was defeated even when we had a large majority, owing to the powers of the minority to obstruct in the Senate. Had we hung onto the Senate, he'd likely have been blocked again. Then, though, Bush could at least have the "he didn't get a vote" hook to justify another recess appointment. Now, he'd get a vote and lose.

When you lose elections, you lose the ability to make controversial public policy decisions. Indeed, I seem to have read somewhere that this is the reason we have elections. If we could continue to govern as if we had a 55-45 majority when we are in a 49-51 minority, then what would be the point of all the hand wringing over losing?

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