Peace through victory - the American way.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

President Bush Doesn't Back Down Once Again.

An admirable political quality in the President is his willingness to duke it out in a partisan fight with Democrats. He doesn't do it with overtly partisan rhetoric. Instead he simply stands up and exercises his authority. Would that more Senate Republicans had the same backbone.

The John Roberts nomination illustrates Bush's partisan skills. After hearing the demands of Senate Democrats that he should consult with the Senate to avoid a filibuster he consulted. But when those same Senate Democrats argued he should nominate an O'Connor-type conservative, he went his own way and nominated a candidate who appears to be an extremely qualified Rehnquist-type conservative to replace O'Connor.

By reaching out to Democrats before the nomination, as they requested he do, and by nominating a highly qualified candidate, Bush has done much to blunt the filibuster threat of the Democrats.

A filibuster of Roberts now would have to be based on ideology. An ideological filibuster would play into Bush's hands. Such a filibuster would be nothing more than an attack on the legitimacy of the President's victory in 2004 and the Republican's majority in the Senate. In 2004, the voters gave conservatives the reins of power in Washington not liberals. That victory didn't give the President the right to ignore the Senate as an equal branch of government and so he consulted with the Senate. Neither did that victory give the President the right to nominate an incompetent to the Supreme Court and so he nominated a highly qualified candidate. But that victory did give the President the right to nominate a candidate who shares his beliefs. That's what elections do. Moreover that victory imposed on him the obligation to nominate the kind of candidate he promised the voters who elected him he would. Given his campaign promise to nominate conservatives for the federal courts to do otherwise would have betrayed the voters who gave him his victory in 2004.

The John Bolton recess appointment is just the latest example of Bush's skill at partisan infighting. There is no need to recap the sorry history of Bolton's treatment by partisan Democratic Senators and their wobbly Republican allies, for instance the weepy George Voinovich. But the aftermath is worth noting.

The claim by the Democrats that Bolton is "damaged goods" because he wasn't confirmed by the Senate is proven nonsense on Bolton's first day in office. Buried in this story (here) is a quote from the Algerian ambassador at the UN.
"What matters in our eyes is that he's the president's choice and that he's close to the president," said Abdallah Baali of Algeria, the lone Arab ambassador on the Security Council. "That gives him certainly the authority to deal with us in New York."

Far from making Bolton damaged goods the Senate Democrats blocking of Bolton and Bush's recess appointment showed that Bolton has the absolute support of the President and that the Senate Democrats are ineffective. Since the President enjoys considerable power in setting foreign policy Bolton's hand is strengthened by Bush going to the mat for him.

It's also laughable that the Senate Democrats have called this recess appointment an abuse of power when the power to recess appoint is in the Constitution and the filibuster and other techniques the Democrats used to fight Bolton are not.




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