Bolton Goes to Full Senate Despite Voinovich Objections

Voinovich Slams Bolton but OKs Senate Vote (AP) WaPo

In a tense atmosphere, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee debated John Bolton’s fitness to be United Nations ambassador on Thursday. A critical Republican senator, George Voinovich of Ohio, agreed to let the nomination go to the full Senate but he called the diplomat “arrogant” and “bullying.” “This administration can do better than that,” Voinovich said in the first big battle of President Bush’s second term.

Voinovich said he could not vote for the nomination, but would agree to send it to the floor without a recommendation of approval or disapproval. “We owe it to the president to give Mr. Bolton an up-or-down vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate,” Voinovich said.

Despite Voinovich’s sharp criticism of Bolton, who now serves as the top arms-control diplomat at the State Department, the White House was clearly relieved that the Ohio senator had agreed to let the full Senate decide.

Voinovich Says He Won’t Back Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to UN (Bloomberg)

Republican Senator George Voinovich of Ohio said he won’t support John Bolton’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador the United Nations when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes today. Voinovich’s opposition would bar the panel’s approval. “Bolton would have been fired if he worked for a major corporation,” Voinovich said as the panel opened final debate on the nomination. Bolton is “the poster child for what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be,” Voinovich said.

Presumably, Voinovich Bolton has the votes he needs. The question is whether the Democrats will find this worth filibustering over.

Correction noted.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Presumably, Voinovich has the votes he needs.

    Presumably, you meant “Bolton,” not “Voinovich.”

  2. JIm says:


    It is interesting that the promised filibuster are for lower level positions which has tended to allow the Democrats to fire their base but leave the great majority of Americans numb. It would be interesting to see the American people’s reaction to a high-level appointment like the Supreme Courts or to a more limited extend UN Ambassador.

  3. McGehee says:

    Thacker and I are tag-teaming the proofreading duties. 😉

  4. Senator George Voinovich of Ohio gave a speech last night against the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the U.N.

    He admonished his fellow senators to vote against John Bolton because Voinovich was afraid for his grandchildren’s future. In the Senator’s tortuous reasoning, the U.N. Ambassador today will have an adverse effect on the future of his grandchildren. He punctuated his speech by choking on his words and sobbing. I was listening on the radio so I don’t know if there were tears in his eyes as he said this.

    This kind of illogical reasoning and emotional appeal sounds too much like a Democrat. I hesitate to label the Senator as crazy.

    Rather, Voinovich’s behavior reminds me of King David as he sought to escape from King Saul who was out to kill him by escaping to the Philistine camp and feigning madness so that he would be granted asylum by the Philistines. The Senator from Ohio is fighting for his political life. He knows that he has fallen out of favor with the Republican Party because of his unprincipled opposition to John Bolton, and is seeking asylum among Democrats.