Mexican Standoff

Bolton’s strange two toned face is back in the news today. What with the nuclear option, then the nuclear compromise, then the Michael Jackson trial, it’s easy to lose your foothold in the news. But he’s back, or more accurately, the Senate is back regarding the prospective UN Ambassador.

Democrats in the Senate have made it very clear, they have no qualms pulling a filibuster on Bolton’s nomination unless they get what they want. The carrot in question is actually a set of NSA documents that the Democrats feel is very vital in making their decision.

Tactically, the Dems are in good position. They got justification. Instead of simply saying Bolton is too conservative, they have documents to point to as the reason why a vote won’t be made. Considering how stingy this administration is with releasing documents, that puts a lot of pressure on the White House. On top of that, the Democrats have the votes to prevent cloture. So from a pure strategy point, this is definitely the Dem’s game.

But the real question is the PR battle. Already, stalwarts from both sides are pointing at each other for halting progress. The GOP are putting up a critique of the Democrats that largely echoes the critiques that led to the judicial filibuster fight. At the same time, Democrats are wisely using the leverage of their justification of the filibuster to redirect some of that criticism towards the White House.

As it stands, it doesn’t look good for Bolton himself. The filibuster threat against him is very real, and there is some support from across the aisle to bolster that. If the White House doesn’t release the documents, then his bid is over. If they get pressured into releasing them, and the news isn’t good, there have been a few fence sitters in the Republican camp who have explained that their yea vote can easily be swayed.

Come what may, I think we’ll see an end to this circus act relatively soon, and taking all the factors into account, there’s a good shot that the Democrats will come out on top with this one.

M

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