Schizo over Bolton?

Republican George Voinovich of Ohio won't back Bolton with a key vote in committee; he wants the full GOP-controlled Senate to decide.

Published May 12, 2005 4:29PM (EDT)

Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio has decided, sort of, that he won't support John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. His swing vote means that Bolton likely won't have a majority when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee comes to a decision, expected to take place just a few hours from now. But against the backdrop of Washington's filibuster wars, Voinovich still called for a full Senate vote on the issue: "I am not so arrogant to think that I should impose my judgment and perspective of the U.S. position in the world community on the rest of my colleagues,'' he said. "We owe it to the president to give Mr. Bolton an up-or-down vote on the floor of the United States Senate.''

Voinovich also indicated today that he would vote against Bolton when the full Senate took up the nomination. A couple other Republican senators have wavered, but it appears Bolton will have the votes he needs for a simple majority; Republicans control the Senate, 55-44.

The White House continues expressing confidence that Bush's mustachioed muscleman for the job will be confirmed. The "reform-minded, results-minded'' Bolton is "what we need at the UN,'' said Bush spokesman Scott McClellan.

Voinovich, though apparently confident in the collective judgment of the GOP-controlled upper chamber, continues not to share the White House's confidence in Bolton, calling him, "the poster child for what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be" at the opening today of the committee's final debate on the nomination.

"Bolton would have been fired if he worked for a major corporation," Voinovich said. Though not, of course, with the man in charge who prides himself on running Washington like a CEO.

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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