Thune Opposing Bolton as BRAC Payback
Senator John Thune, who promised during his campaign against then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle that electing him would save Ellsworth Air Force Base, is opposing John Bolton’s nomination as UN Ambassador in a bizarre protest against that base’s inclusion on the BRAC list.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said Thursday that he would vote against the nomination of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations, hinting his vote is a protest against the Pentagon’s recommendation to close Ellsworth Air Force Base. But he did support his party on the vote that mattered most Thursday. Republicans needed 60 votes to end the Democratic procedural delays and move to an immediate final vote on Bolton’s confirmation. Fifty-six senators – including Thune – voted to end the stalling, four shy of that threshold. Now the final Bolton vote will probably not take place until June.
Thune said Thursday that saving Ellsworth is “inseparable from my work” in the Senate. “It is part of the fabric of every day of our agenda and the things we are trying to accomplish here,” Thune said Thursday. “It’s something that has become a great preoccupation of mine now.”
Asked whether his opposition to Bolton was because of his qualifications or the base-closing plan, Thune said dryly: “I’m concerned about our diplomatic posture as a nation, and I’m concerned about our defensive posture. These issues are not unrelated.”
While I understand Thune’s desperation to save Ellsworth–and would be surprised if a deal isn’t worked out to save it, given the significance of knocking off Daschle–this tactic strikes me as counterproductive as it is odd. A junior senator has to support the party leadership on key votes if he hopes to have any chance of influencing legislation.
via Michelle Malkin