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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

A Nasty Surprise for Bolton

Today pretty much everybody in Washington thought John Bolton’s confirmation as ambassador to the U.N. would slip out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a party-line vote, with clear skies ahead on the Senate floor. But at the last minute, it appears, Ohio Republican Senator George Voinovich threw a big sack of sand into the gears, saying he had missed a lot of the hearings and needed to hear more before he was comfortable voting for the fiery Bolton. The objects of the whole Democratic strategy for derailing this confirmation, Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel and Linc Chafee, also looked kinda wobbly.I’ve been publicly and privately unhappy with the Mean Mister Mustard approach of Foreign Relations Democrats to Bolton, who has a rich record of questionable attitudes on nuclear proliferation, humanitarian interventions, and the value of alliances and multilateral organizations in general. They obviously knew something I didn’t know.But with a three-week delay (at a minimum) in the committee vote, and more hearings a certainty, I do hope the case against making this guy our spokesman in the most visible international forum gets broadened into his philosophy and record, giving Democrats not only a chance at a “win,” but also the opportunity to score some serious points about the right way to protect our national security in a world far more complicated than George W. Bush will ever acknowledge.

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