“I met an unusual man today. He didn’t walk into the room with a political agenda. He didn’t walk in with his mind made up. He genuinely wanted to do what he thought was best. He didn’t mind saying the words I don’t know.”
–The West Wing
No kidding, this guy has some balls on him.
As Holden points out below, he’s bucked fush before, but today was something else. I was watching the Bolton hearings (you can see a replay of highlights here) and it was all about to go south. Joe Biden was pounding on the table, saying in no uncertain terms, this man is bad for America, bad for the UN. Kerry said, he as good as lied to our faces. Dodd and Sarbanes said, this is not the way we should do things.
And none of it made any difference to Lugar, who had his marching orders and was going to carry them out no matter what. Lugar called the vote. Sarbanes argued, Dodd argued, Hagel lay there like a fart in church, and it was all about to go down just the way Lugar wanted it to, until Voinovich spoke up.
In reality, what he did wasn’t that big a deal. Bolton is patently unsuitable for the job for which he’s been nominated. He may have perjured himself with his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee (as Kerry so aptly pointed out), and he has a record of bullying and intimidating those who work for him, people who are, in comparison with him, powerless. Anyone with a conscience should speak out against this man.
But on that committee, on the Republican side of that committee, as Coleman sat there underneath his hairdo like a princeling and Miller asked to have the rules of the Senate explained to him, it looked like consciences were in short supply.
And this president and his political machine aren’t known for being friendly to those who speak out against their plans.
But as Bolton ties himself ever closer to Bush, as more and more dirt about Bolton comes out, as DeLay and Bush’s poll numbers drop, the Republican discipline we saw is fracturing. What can you do to keep your own members in line without a mandate, with a leader who’s about to be indicted? It’s going badly for them now, and they know it.
So while ordinarily you’d hate to give Voinovich a cookie just for showing up for work, he picked a particularly apt moment to do so, and I think we should thank him for it. We should thank him for giving our Republican friends and acquaintances (and we all have them) an example to point to to say, see, there are still decent people in my party. We should thank him for providing an example others of his political persuasion might wish to emulate, if they want to be taken seriously by people other than their lunatic Freepi base.
Most of all, we should thank him because right now he’s probably getting 200 hate mails per second from the mouthbreathers over at LGF and FR, and it would be nice if all the vile invective came from his side, and the sincere gratitude from ours.
Write to Sen. Voinovich of Ohio here. And tell him a left-wing blogger, known for caustic discourse, sent you.