Many Democrats -- including a fair number of members of Congress -- seem unwilling to accept the results of last year's election. They believed they were cheated out of the White House in 2000 and were sure they would win it back in 2004. When Americans didn't oblige them, they tried to set up roadblocks to the president's ability to get his agenda through. They don't want the president to appoint federal appellate judges, much less a Supreme Court nominee. They want to punish the president for daring to pick candidates who reflect his own conservative values, even though the voters affirmed the president's leadership. And some Democrats would love nothing better than to embarrass the president in international opinion, which is where Bolton's nomination holdup comes in. Nothing could please these sore losers more than to see the president humiliated in front of the United Nations if Bolton fails to win confirmation.
There's still time for cooler Democratic heads to prevail. Sens. Byrd, Lieberman, Salazar and Inouye could still do the right thing and vote for cloture on the Bolton nomination when the Senate comes back from its Memorial Day recess. But I'm not holding my breath. Bipartisanship has come to be a one-way affair. No matter how unprincipled the Democrats behave, they are rarely called to account. Only when Republicans cave in to Democratic demands do we hear accolades about statesmanship.
I still don't like the "nuclear option," but the Democrats may leave Republicans no choice. There's still one last chance to salvage the compromise, but the Democrats have to play fair and abide by its spirit as well as its words.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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