Seeking a way to justify preconceived opposition, Dodd and Biden seized on the Executive branch's refusal to give the Senate what it wanted. The issue, so obscure it is difficult for the non-senatorial mind to grasp, goes to Bolton having requested intelligence intercepts. Dodd demands the names of U.S. officials listed there whom Bolton might have intimidated.It's now become a party vote unmoored from the merits of the nomination or any of the underlying issues regarding the United Nations.
Sen. Pat Roberts, the Intelligence Committee chairman, reviewed the intercepts and reported to Dodd that they were "vanilla" and did not affect the confirmation fight. Roberts originally thought his Democratic vice chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, agreed. But that was before Democratic leaders got hold of Rockefeller and turned him around.
Roberts, trying to settle the matter Wednesday, reported that seven officials whose names were raised by Dodd were not in the intelligence intercepts. In his Thursday response, Chris Dodd again showed himself one the Senate's fiercest partisans behind a smiling face. He criticized Roberts for revealing five of the names (though they were drawn from public statements by Democrats), and then demanded that the intercepts be made available to search for 36 officials.
This baffling process becomes intelligible only in terms that Dodd and Biden want to hold together the Democrats on grounds of senatorial prerogative in demanding information. Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat who often removes the veils from his party's strategy, conceded that this trumped up issue unified the caucus as it had in opposing Miguel Estrada's failed judicial nomination. Sen. Mark Pryor, a freshman from Arkansas who cannot decide whether he wants to be an independent moderate or a party stalwart, last week used the claimed denial of documents to justify withdrawing his previous support for cloture.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Robert Novak reveals how the Democratic objections to John Bolton are just a charade. They are trying to relive the glory days of keeping Miguel Estrada off the bench by demanding documents that they know no self-respecting administration would hand over to the Senate.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 10:15 AM