"I just hope these people of Washington, D.C. are prepared to handle this. It's going to be a train wreck."
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Those words, by that renowned political sage, Mike Tyson, are an apt description of what's been happening to Bush administration appointees in the U.S. Senate. Though the former heavyweight champion's comment is actually a forecast of his upcoming fight against Kevin McBride on June 11th at the MCI Center in Washington, it also applies to the current state of affairs between the White House and Capitol Hill. As a result, the very ambitious agenda President Bush has set for his second term is now on the ropes.
This was supposed to be the week that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on the nomination of Under Secretary of State John Bolton to become our Ambassador to the United Nations. It didn't happen. Instead, Senator George "I'm a maverick, too" Voinovich decided he needed to learn more about Mr. Bolton, whose long and distinguished career of public service is being savaged by the so-called mainstream media, petty bureaucrats, and liberal Bush-bashers.
On the same day that Senator Voinovich announced, "I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton," Senator Elizabeth Dole, Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, announced a new web site. She pledges that those who visit www.GOPSenators.com will be able to "track Democrat obstruction of the President's judicial nominees." The site also features a "recently released web video highlighting the Democrat partisan obstruction." Of course Senator Voinovich won't appear in the video -- he's a Republican. But with Republicans like this, who needs Democrats?
And therein lies the problem for Mr. Bolton, and anyone else willing to accept an appointment from this administration. Vicious assaults and legislative obstruction have long been key parts of the liberal Democrat agenda. But lack of support from the Republican majority has turned the confirmation process into an ordeal by fire. For all the Republican talk about a "nuclear option" to stop filibusters on stalled judicial nominees, the GOP has been firing blanks from water pistols while liberal Democrats beat White House nominees like rented mules.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.