Maybe I'm overestimating the power of Powell, but I have to think his decision to actively lobby against Bolton effectively kills the nomination. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is notable for its motley collection of Republican moderates -- guess the rest of the caucus wanted to cut taxes or something? -- and they're exactly the folks who listen to the words of Colin, he's one of their own. So now that he's having chit-chats with Chafee and Hagel, and Chafee and Hagel have been wobbling ever since Voinovich forced Lugar to blink, it seems like this little push from someone with so much popular authority should be more than enough to convince one or both of 'em that Bolton shouldn't exit the committee alive. And if Bolton can't get out of committee, and Social Security privatization can't pass, it's really looking like lame duckhood for this president.
That reminds me: Is anyone else thinking Bush term two looks a lot like Clinton term one? Tough fights on nominations, unpopular cultural battles (gays in the military then, Schiavo now), collapse of primary domestic initiatives (Health Care reform then, privatization now), ethical investigations weakening friendly congressional leaders, and so on. The resemblance is quite close.