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Friday, April 22, 2005

Time to stick a fork in Bolton?

Now that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on John Bolton has been delayed until May 12, much more information is seeping into the press.

The committee has 10 Republicans and 8 Democrats, who have unanimously said they do not support the nomination. If one Republican votes "no," then the nomination will not be reported out of committee automatically. If the vote is 9-9, or worse, it would be unusual to forward the nomination to the full Senate for a vote. It could happen, for example, if the committee decided to forward Bolton's name with "no recommendation," as the Senate did with Bush's choice for Ag Secretary in August 2002.

There are reports that former Secretary of State Colin Powell warned some Republican Senators on the Foreign Relations Committee about Bolton. Powell did not sign the letter in support of Bolton's nomination that other former Republican Secretaries of State wrote to the Committee (Baker, Kissinger).

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, has said she's glad the vote was delayed. That makes four: Chuck Hagel (Neb.), George Voinovich (Ohio), and Lincoln Chaffee (RI) already expressed this view. As Reuters reports:
Asked if Bolton had Murkowski's support, spokeswoman Kristin Pugh said, "I can't speculate on how she would vote."
Will all 4 of those Republicans vote to support Bolton after expressing doubts?

The LA Times has reported that the former US Ambassador to South Korea, Thomas Hubbard, claims that Bolton misled the Committee about his reaction to a Bolton speech about North Korea in 2003. Bolton claims Hubbard approved of his attacks on North Korea's regime and thanked him for the help; Hubbard says he asked Bolton to tone down the rhetoric -- and that he, in fact, did not agree with them. Hubbard says he thought the remarks were counterproductive, not helpful!

In reaction to the speech in question, North Korea called Bolton "human scum."


Definition: "a person or an element of society, that is regarded as despicable or worthless."

You make the call.

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