Thursday, May 26, 2005

If It Quacks Like Abuse of Power

It seems that Mr. Frist, Senate Majority Leader, is upset that President Bush's nomination of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations wasn't rubber stamped today as the cloture vote failed. Frist is upset because he lost. Again.

We got to me what looks like a filibuster. Certainly sounds like a filibuster looking at the vote today. It quacks like a filibuster. And I'm afraid shortly after we thought we had things working together again we've got another filibuster.

Well, I think the duck we hear quacking is the lame duck President and his secretive administration:

Two key Democratic senators -- Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Joe Biden of Delaware -- asked their Democratic colleagues Thursday to vote against closing the debate.

The two said they wanted more time for the Bush administration to turn over requested documents relating to Syria and to 10 instances of communications intercepted by the National Security Agency.

The senators said Bolton had once sought those intercepts as the undersecretary of state for arms control.

In a letter to their peers, the two Democrats said the administration's refusal to provide the documents "is a threat to the Senate's constitutional power to advise and consent."

"The only way to protect that power is to continue to demand that the information be provided to the Senate," the senators said. "The only means of forcing the administration to cooperate is to prevent a final vote on the nomination today."

You see, part of "advise and consent" means that the Senate advises the executive regarding its nominations. It is not a rubber stamp. Information regarding Bolton's actions has been requested of the Administration. The institution of the Senate is entitled to such information in order to do its job. The Bush administration, in its usual secretive fashion, has refused to provide this information. Information necessary for Senators to make an informed decision about Bolton. Now what are they hiding? WMD's?

Bush, Frist, and the Republican Right want it all or nothing. They want all the power, including that of the Senate's right to advise and consent. If it looks like abuse of power, sounds like abuse of power, and quacks like abuse of power, what we have is not a filibuster, but abuse of power by the Bush administration.