Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I Hate to Disagree With Sen. Boxer, But...

Here's Senator Boxer's Statement on Defeating the Nuclear Option:
I am very pleased that senators from both sides of the aisle have walked the Senate back from the brink and preserved the great tradition of the United States Senate. This is a victory for the American people. It is a defeat for the abuse of power known as the nuclear option.

I will continue to defend the independence of the judiciary by doing all I can to ensure that we confirm mainstream judicial nominees who will protect the rights and freedoms of the American people.

As much as it pains me to say this, I disagree.
(1)We're being saddled with more rightwingnut judges.
(2)The right to filibuster has been preserved, provided the Democrats refrain from using it except under "extraordinary circumstances." Sorry, but if the nominees that the "moderates" handed up or down votes for last night aren't extraordinarily terrible, than the word "extraordinary" no longer has any meaning.

My song parody on this subject, The Immoderate Pact song is here.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


That doesn't say much for, you know, your party...

Barbara Boxer and George Allen, both of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were on Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss the John Bolton nomination, and it is a good example of why I dig Senator Boxer so much. She really wiped the mat with Allen, including masterful moments such as, when Senator Allen wouldn't stop talking in an attempt to monopolize the time, Senator Boxer said, "George... You're filibustering me here!" The whole video of the appearance is on Crooks and Liars, but this part was just to good to share.

To set it up, Allen has just finished saying that the Democrats clearly don't understand what is at stake and that John Bolton is a tough-minded person who will go in and reform the U.N and fight for U.S. interests. He then said that it was obvious that what the Democrats want is some milquetoast ambassador who will get caught up in the convoluted U.N. bureaucracy. Boxer replied with this:

Well, first of all: You know me, and you know I've been very upfront. I said that right away this was a bad appointment before I even knew all of these other problems that he's carrying around. The fact of the matter is you don't send someone to the United Nations who has said publicly that "The U.N. doesn't exist."

But let's get past that. You're making the case that if we don't move John Bolton forward that any other Republican that George Bush might put up is a Casper milquetoast? That doesn't say much, you know, for your party.

That woman is so on point so often. I'm not sure she could make it to the end of a national campaign and become this party's nominee for President in '08, but I'd love to see her try, if only because of the spirit and vitality that she'd bring to the national debate.

(Cross-posted at Something Requisitely Witty and Urbane

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Hold Tight

The Democrats are generally hampered by a lack of tools and a disinclination to use the few they have. Sen. Boxer is, as always, a happy exception: she has placed a formal "hold" on the Bolton nomination until the State Dept. agrees to cough up various documents the Democrats have demanded:
At the State Department, spokesman Richard Boucher indicated the Democrats' demands for more Bolton documents would not be met. "We think that we have provided everything that is relevant to this nomination," he said.

President Bush's nomination of Bolton [as Ambassador to the U.N.] was voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 10-8 on Thursday without an endorsement [thank you, Sen. Voinovich -- S.], and Democrats vowed to take their fight to the Senate floor.

Boxer told The Associated Press on Friday she would use procedural delays until Democrats receive the requested information.

"It is not fair to bring this nomination to the floor for debate and a vote until all the information has been delivered," she said.

Boxer said the Democrats want to know if Bolton sought the names of American officials whose communications were intercepted by U.S. intelligence, details on the private business activities of a Bolton assistant, Matthew Friedman; and the circumstances of a tough Bolton speech on Syria.

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who is leading the drive to scuttle the nomination, is backing Boxer's request for a hold, a legislative device to keep the Republican leadership from beginning debate, spokesman Norm Kurz said.

Asked to assess Bolton's chances of being confirmed, Boxer said, "I think we can definitely beat John Bolton because, I think, the American people are going to weigh in and make their views known."

She said she would lift the hold when the Democrats received the requested information. But, she said, "all options are on the table, including a filibuster."
As Laura Rozen asks: "Since when does the State Department think it has the prerogative to resist Congressional oversight, advice and consent?" Rozen also quotes a letter from a reader who posits an interesting scenario:
Reid and other Democrats have vowed to bring the Senate to a halt for all but urgent national security issues if the Senate GOP exercises the nuclear option on judicial nominations. Urgent issues most assuredly does not include the Bolton confirmation. Chris Nelson and others have argued that Democrats will not filibuster Bolton because they want to save their ammunition for the judges. That assessment was correct so long as the Bolton floor vote took place before Frist exploded the nuclear option.

But, as all accounts indicate and if no compromise emerges, Frist will move for a parliamentary ruling next week. Once that occurs, all hell will break lose and the Senate Democrats will not allow the Bolton nomination to come to a floor vote this year.

In short, because of the likely timing of the nuclear option, I suspect the only way we will see John Bolton in Turtle Bay will be through a recess appointment, an unprecedented step for a Cabinet-level nomination.
UPDATE: Another Bush nominee may find his confirmation in doubt. Lester Crawford, the President's pick to head up the FDA, is under investigation for alleged misconduct:
But beyond that, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., confirmed that he intends to place a hold on Crawford's nomination if it gets out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. His spokesman, John Hart, said Coburn is concerned that the FDA under Crawford's leadership as acting commissioner has not implemented a law requiring new labels for condoms that describe their limitations.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


The Madness Is Back

My apologies for my long silence. I was unable to get into blogger for a couple of weeks. And when I finally regained access, I left town for a two week trip. Anyway, I thought I'd celebrate my return with a poem:

The Madness Returns
By Madeleine Begun Kane

I've been gone for two weeks.
Did I miss something good?
Didn't keep up with the news,
Though I know that I should.

I see Dub's not impeached,
And DeLay''s not in jail...

The rest of The Madness Is Back is here.

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