I wrote this for a thread in a stranger's journal; since I don't wanna single them out, I won't say whose, and anyway I'm posting it here instead. Anybody can comment, of course, and be treated with respect...just like always. :D
93 93/93 -- That Affable AJ
<< a very small minority of Democrats chose to filibuster >>
(1) If there really was a threat of filibuster involved, then you've been misled: it couldn't have been a "very small minority" of senators blocking Bolton, it had to have been fully a third of the Senate, at a minimum (or his supporters could have broken a filibuster, see?). Beyond that, Bolton's opponents included a number of Republicans, too, with Sen. George Voinovich leading the charge. (No blame if you didn't know these things: today's dizzily rightward-tilted media didn't tend to mention them.)
<< Bush did not bypass the Senate >>
(2) Yeah, he did. A president's constitutional authority to make recess appointments is intended to be used in emergencies when Congress is out of session,* not as a clever trick to evade senatorial consent. For "waiting until Congress leaves to get your way after all" (as the Shrubster has repeatedly used it), "bypassing the Senate" is precisely the proper term (whichever party does it).** To suggest that this is an emergency now -- because we badly need a U.N. ambassador -- is equally disingenuous: every other president in my (long) lifetime would have withdrawn Bolton's name months ago, and appointed someone with sufficient bipartisan support to get confirmed, so any present urgency is entirely the administration's fault. (That is, of course, the point of the "advise and consent" clause: it tends to get you candidates acceptable to both parties...as so often, exactly the result the Prez was trying to avoid, hence his numerous recess appointments.)
So much for the facts; brief editorial follows. (No, not about the U.N., though I might mention that I can't imagine them being worse at, well, anything, than this administration is at, well, everything***...so my hopes for Bolton at the U.N. are unsurprisingly bleak.)
(3) To my mind, the real issue here is bigger than just this confirmation fight, or even than his use of recess appointments. Ever since Bush made his way into office he has governed from the very far right, and used every trick imaginable -- many underhanded, not a few of questionable legality (can you imagine what the GOP would have had to say if the Clinton White House had betrayed a CIA officer's identity?****) -- to rule, so far as possible, as an undisputed monarch: unhindered by the Constitution, which he consistently sees as an obstacle to his goals. Considering that his experiment with near-autocracy has turned out to be such a consistent disaster for the American empire itself, I'm not surprised that so many Republicans are getting almost as tired of this sad sack, and his spectacularly failed policies, as I am.
* And is also, btw, a holdover from the days when Congress could, even in an emergency, only return to Washington in a matter of weeks or more.
** I am sure he's not the first president ever to use recess appointments to bypass senatorial consent. I am, however, also quite certain that none in my lifetime has used them for such a serious national office as U.N. ambassador, a post unusually dependent on broad-based bipartisan support...I mean, back when we were a republic, and all. :/
*** The U.N. oil for food scandal pales by comparison to what's being done with our tax dollars every day in Iraq. I don't mean the war, I mean the sheer embezzlement: the truly staggering corruption, including of U.S. military personnel. Anybody who wants to discuss U.N. money scandals, but not Halliburton/KBR, has zero actual principled concern about financial malfeasance. (I'm sure the person I'm replying to is not one of those rats.)
**** Or for that matter, if he'd used a recess appointment to appoint Lani What'sername Attorney General, or cut Halliburton-style sweetheart deals for a company Al Gore just finished running, or...well, jeez, the list is well nigh endless, isn't it? :0