Update [2005-4-19 14:41:20 by BooMan]:Oh, that was so beautiful, and the timing was exquisite. Lugar, clearly operating under enormous pressure from the White House, attempted to break precedent and force an up or down vote on John Bolton. First Kerry got irate, then Dodd worked himself up to a heliotrope shade, then Biden nearly had another aneurysm.

Lugar struggled to explain why a man who had just lied to the committee, and about whom serious unresolved allegations had been leveled, should be approved for promotion without further investigation. He looked pained, but attempted to carry out his charge.

It became embarrassing as Sarbanes and Obama made reasoned and irrefutable points about the inappropriateness of cutting off debate.

Hagel, clearly uncomfortable with the whole charade, decided to make a little speech. He declared that he would go along with Lugar despite his misgivings, but he might not vote for Bolton on the floor.

Having shown his utter lack of spine and principle, he was swiftly cut off at the knees by a totally unexpected source. Senator Voinovich of Ohio asked to speak, and then declared that he was not prepared to vote for Bolton, in light of the issues the Democrats had raised.

This also had the effect of cutting Chafee off at the knees. Chafee had remained a silent observer up to that point. He was relying on Rhode Islanders to not care about a vote for a second-level post, and hoping to avoid severe punishment from the thugs on Pennsylvania Avenue. But now, with Voinovich jumping ship, he had no excuse to support Bolton anymore. He politely asked Lugar whether a vote was still desirable. Ha ha ha.

At that moment, if Lugar had pressed for a vote, Chafee was hinting, the vote would be 10-8 against Bolton, and his nomination would be dead.

All the Democrats and Voinovich and Chafee (and possibly Hagel) would have voted against him.

Oh, it was priceless to see how long Lugar took to figure it out. Finally an aide passed a note to Lugar, and Dodd raced in to offer a graceful retreat. Another three weeks of delay…

Great political theater…Kudos to Voinovich.

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