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Showdown week in the Senate

By Lisa Fabrizio
web posted May 23, 2005

As the foliage bursts forth into its spring magnificence, the vernal quietude up on Capitol Hill -- never too peaceful in any season -- will be further rent this week by howls of protest, sniveled cries of injustice and the general despair of the defeated. And that's just the Washington press corps.

First up after the Highway Bill, Bill Frist is expected to schedule a Senate vote on the nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton, the left's bogeyman of the month, survived the Democratic wringer and was reported out of the Foreign Relations Committee even after a few Republicans took a turn at the wheel.

John Bolton

The stated reason for opposition to Bolton concerns his alleged mistreatment of subordinates and a general gruffness that the left finds unattractive in a man like Bolton but charming when exhibited by a 'liberated' woman, like Hillary Clinton. The real reason of course, is that he was nominated by, and thus shares the views of George W. Bush.

So despised is he that the left pulled out nearly all the stops to keep him from defiling the halls of purity at Turtle Bay. Tales of abuse floated through the rumor mill and, in a move reminiscent of their recent glory days, porno king Larry Flynt was called in to dish the dirt. Most telling though was a psychobabblicious op-ed piece in the New York Times that likened Mr. Bolton's personality to that of psychopathic criminals.

Most liberal media sycophants somehow regard the ugly but typically party-line vote on Bolton as symptomatic of President Bush's troubles. They see Bolton and Bush as unilateral cowboys whose naïve, un-nuanced view of the world could spell grave consequences; like the defeat of bloodthirsty cults and tyrants and the spread of freedom and democracy around the globe.

President Bush gave the UN crowd fourteen months to enforce their own sanctions against Saddam Hussein but as it later became clear, they were busy with other endeavors concerning Iraq. The truth is, when you want to clean out a rats nest, you don't hire a rat to do the job. George Allen was right: we're not sending Mr. Peepers to Turtle Bay.

Also likely to come to the Senate floor this week is the 'nuclear' option regarding Democrat filibusters of the president's judicial nominations. Some now refer to this as the 'Byrd' option in recognition of the eponymous senator from West Virginia whose record on filibusters is, as he might say, a mite contradictory.

Senator Byrd, as Majority Leader between 1979 and 1984 was, in fact, a filibuster buster on four occasions when it suited his purposes. But the worm has turned and Byrd is on it. In threatening Bill Frist and the GOP last week, the former Klu Klux Klan Kleagle chirped, "Don't travel that path because the leader of his party may some day be executed on the same gallows."

The media are actually looking forward to the judicial filibuster battle as they hope to round up the usual suspects for beatification. 'Mavericks' like John McCain and 'profiles in courage' such as Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snowe and other Republicans In Name Only will be lauded unless and until they shock the country and vote with their party. But it won't be so easy for them to thwart a quietly powerful and determined Majority Leader as Bill Frist now appears to be.

Equally determined though considerably less powerful, Harry Reid is becoming quite the debonair orator as befits a man charged with living up to the stature of his predecessor, dashing Tom Daschle. Topping even the eloquence of the Romanesque Byrd, he quipped that the nuclear option was nothing more than a "big wet kiss to the far right."

But he didn't stop there. In a week that saw his party's chairman, Howard Dean, call the president "despicable," Harry felt compelled to add that he was also "a loser." And he showed himself easily as morally challenged as Dean when he defied Senate and FBI rules by disclosing of one of the nominees:

"Henry Saad would have been filibustered anyway. All you need to do is have a member go upstairs and look at his confidential report from the FBI, and I think we would all agree that there is a problem there."

In the unethical bloodying of nominees when they cannot answer back, gratuitously insulting the president, threatening the Majority Leader and scorning all possibilities for a face-saving compromise, Reid and friends have thrown down the senatorial gauntlet in the face of the voting public who elected the majority.

Let us hope that after Bolton has confronted the UN cesspool and all of President Bush's judges are seated, the voters will be wise enough to relocate more Democrats to the bench of irrelevancy, right next to the original obstructionist, Mr. Daschle himself.

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut . You may write her at mailbox@lisafab.com.

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