This gets more interesting by the hour:
|...The White House is toughening-up its support of Bolton, even to the point of anticipating a stalemate or even negative vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Bolton. Lawyers are now considering various mechanisms by which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee might be circumvented to take the nomination directly to the floor of the Senate, this making a mockery of the Committee, its findings, and any vote it might take.|
This is incredible. The Bush administration is willing -- it seems -- to gamble everything on behalf of Bolton, even to the point of emasculating the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senators like Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, Lincoln Chafee, George Voinovich, and others need to say enough is enough. This is no longer about Bolton being a "loose cannon" or irresponsible manager of intelligence, or an agent in a guerilla war against Secretary of State Colin Powell's diplomacy. This is about an incredible abuse of power not by Bolton, but by the White House.
If it stays on its present course, the White House is saying that not only was Bolton's wide berth of disturbing, reckless behaviors not appropriate, White House officials are celebrating Boltonianism and mimicking it in its treatment of Lugar and his committee.
Because the White House is willing to go to such incredibly perverse lengths on this battle, I think it's increasingly clear that Bolton's opponents can and may just possibly win. The manner and style of White House pressure on its caucus is forcing the Senate to accept the unacceptable.
Dick Cheney's team is canvassing the Republican caucus to see how solid or weak support will be for Bolton in a full Senate vote -- but they are taking the vote before anyone has seen the NSA intercepts.
If Bolton played loose with the nation's most secret secrets and was spying on his superiors and passing on information to others in government, Bolton's behavior may have violated bounds of legality. The Senate will switch in a heart-beat if that is the case, despite any pre-NSA Intercepts ring-kissing operation that Cheney has going on among the Republicans in the Senate chamber....
I wonder what the White House has up its sleeve, because on the surface it's acting suicidal.