BYE BYE, BOLTON. In a web column yesterday, I wrote that Ambassador Bolton faces an uphill confirmation battle. Well, it seems that Bolton's prospects just got much, much dimmer. Moments ago, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Richard Lugar delayed a scheduled vote on Bolton following "consultations with a few other senators." "A few other senators" is perhaps code for Lincoln Chafee, who was the only Republican as yet undecided on how he would vote on Bolton in committee. Word was that Chaffee was disinclined to vote against Bolton because of his tough primary election on Tuesday. That seems not to be the case. And with Chafee digging his heels in against Bolton before his primary, then he is sure to continue with his opposition to the nominee for the foreseeable future.
Another possible reason could be that the Republican leadership realized that even if all Republicans on the SFRC, including Chafee, voted for Bolton, they still would not likely muster enough votes to overcome the filibuster that Senator Dodd promised yesterday. If this was the reason for the delay, then it would be a welcome sign that the minority party is ready to take the offense on foreign policy and national security issues in advance of the election.
Either way, Bolton's nomination seems stuck. Hopefully, his friends at AEI will have a nice cushy office waiting for him on 17th Street.
--Mark Leon Goldberg