Monday, April 18, 2005

Nelson and Hagel Go Wild

by Kyle Michaelis
Two very big votes are coming up in the Senate, and Nebraska's Senators are keeping both pretty exciting by their respective positioning. First, there's the vote on avowed UN-basher John Bolton as President Bush's pick for United Nations Ambassador.

It's an insulting and altogether despicable choice that isn't going to do a damn thing to heal the rifts Bush has created with the rest of the world. Pulling a bit of a partisan switcheroo, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel came out this weekend with some questions about Bolton's suitability for the job, mostly tied to his dictatorial style and abusive treatment of a former analyst at the State Department who now works for Hagel. The LA Times reports:
Nebraska's Republican senator suggested Sunday that he might oppose John Bolton as U.N. ambassador if more allegations come out about the nominee's character and behavior. That could result in a tie vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and endanger President Bush's choice to head the U.S. delegation to the international body.

As the committee vote scheduled for Tuesday nears, Sen. Chuck Hagel said he remained concerned about a series of accusations questioning Bolton's temperament and wondered whether he was the right man for the job. "We need a uniter," Hagel said on CNN's "Late Edition." "We need a builder. We need someone who will reach out to our friends and our allies at the United Nations."

Hagel hedged when asked whether he would vote for Bolton. "At this point, I will," he said. "But I have been troubled with more and more allegations, revelations, coming out about his style, his method of operation."

Hagel is second in seniority among the 10 Republicans on the committee. With eight Democrats on the panel, a vote by Hagel against Bolton would tip the result into a tie, which could send the matter to the full Senate without a recommendation....

Hagel deemed the allegations "a disturbing pattern of things that have come out about Bolton's management style, this intimidation...We cannot have that at the United Nations," he said. "That should not be anywhere in our government."
Now for the fun part, Journal-Star columnist Don Walton shared today of our Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson:
Nelson says he's leaning toward voting to confirm John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
That's disappointing, to say the least. One would hope Nelson would take advantage of Hagel's wavering and see it as an opportunity to at least make clear his doubts about Bolton, whether or not he feels pressured to support Bush's horrendous pick. Sadly, he probably sees this instead as a chance to prove he's more of a Bush lackey than his Republican counterpart. Even sadder, in Nebraska, that kind of thinking just might be what gets Nelson reelected.

Of course, Hagel's tradition of talking independent while voting anything but is likely to continue once again in this instance. We'll know tomorrow. Seriously, what good does Hagel's apparent conscience and common sense do him (or us) since he's proven entirely unwilling to vote as if he has either?


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