The Abyss Looks Back
Wow! Heavens to Voinovich! Look what Fred Kaplan has to say in Slate this afternoon about the Bolton nomination (there has been much buzz elsewhere, but this is expert summation):
Something amazing happened at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon. In nearly 30 years of watching Congress, off and on, I can't remember anything quite like it. [...]
A vote was scheduled for this afternoon. The panel's Democrats advanced some delaying maneuvers. The Republican chairman, Richard Lugar of Indiana, swiftly put them down. The vote looked imminent.
Then, at about 4:30 p.m., out of nowhere, George Voinovich, a Republican from Ohio, said that he hasn't attended any of the hearings on Bolton (he claimed to be busy with something or other) but, based on charges that he had just heard today, he would not "feel comfortable" voting Bolton out of committee. [...]
Lugar and Joseph Biden of Delaware, the committee's ranking Democrat, reached an accord. The Democratic and Republican staff members, working together, will investigate the new charges, calling more witnesses for interviews. The senators will go on recess. When they come back, they'll look at the probe's results. Maybe they'll call Bolton back for another hearing, perhaps to defend himself. Then they'll vote. In short, the vote is delayed by at least a couple of weeks. Meeting adjourned.
Amazing indeed. Now, two weeks of more shit hitting the fan for a guy who seems to like personal terror tactics when he doesn't like your work (there are links in posts below). Inevitably ugly, and Kaplan asks, in so many words, "Hold on to this schmuck and give the Dems a win, or garrotte him from the back seat (pace Kaplan, "(metaphorically, of course).")? Can Bush and the GOP allow such a defeat? Again - Wow!
[Update: Watch the clip from C-SPAN2 at Crook & Liars - it's less than 15 minutes of your time, but the anxiety (almost regret) in the room - on both sides - is palpable. Lugar seems quite unhappy, Boxer and Sarbanes are very articulate in their reservations (without much hope), and then Voinovich puts his foot down, almost out of nowhere, and .... well, we shall see.
For people who think these deliberations are some form of screaming match of the sort they are used to on cable news, this is a wonderful corrective.]