The latest on Bolton

A funny thing happened on the way to John Bolton's confirmation as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

First, 55,986 of you sent Senator Lincoln Chafee a strong message in a petition we delivered to his office Thursday morning, urging him to live up to his reputation of having an independent streak and vote against John Bolton.

Senator Chafee didn't take a stand during Thursday's Foreign Relations Commitee hearing -- but believe it or not, after see-sawing back and forth, he is still holding open the option of voting against Bolton on the floor of the Senate. The Senator could have been a real hero to reasonable people everywhere by killing the nomination in committee, but that wasn't to be.

However, I know that the overwhelming lobbying effort you made -- including thousands of phone calls and petition signatures -- has kept hope alive as to Senator Chafee's final vote on the matter.

Second, Republican Senator George Voinovich of Ohio gave an incredibly masterful speech against Bolton in the Committee. Voinovich called Bolton "the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be" and went on to say: "We have sought to appoint an Ambassador to the United Nations who himself has been accused of being arrogant, of not listening to his friends, of acting unilaterally, and of bullying those who do not have ability to properly defend themselves."

Because of Voinovich, the Foreign Relations Committee on which I serve was unable to vote out Bolton with a positive recommendation. Committee Republicans were only able to muster enough support to vote him out without recommendation, a highly unusual thing -- only the sixth time this has happened since 1988.

Of course the Bush Administration, including Secretary of State Rice, is trying to put the best face on it, and it is true that the fight goes on. But that's the point: Despite Republican control of the Senate, we're still in this fight, and we will not shrink from it!

John Bolton is a man who has nothing but disdain for the United Nations, someone who would politicize intelligence and stretch intelligence to create phantom "imminent threats" -- a very dangerous man indeed. Further, Bolton has been called a "serial abuser" in terms of his relationships with those over whom he held power, and he tried to fire hard-working, independent intelligence analysts who didn't and wouldn't agree to give him the false information he was requesting.

Earth to George Bush: Can't you please find someone who deserves this job to represent us at the United Nations?

Well, the answer to that question is clearly no, and so we continue the fight. I have placed a "hold" on the John Bolton nomination, meaning that we won't proceed to debate his nomination by unanimous consent and must have a vote before we do so. I have placed this hold because there are several important documents requested by Committee Democrats which we still have not received. We don't know what these documents will reveal, but we do know that we deserve to have them. Until we do, my hold stands.

So hope springs eternal, mostly because you give me the strength to step out and do what my job requires on behalf of the people I represent -- to ask the tough questions, get the answers, and cast the hard votes.

While I continue to do everything I can to stop Bolton in the Senate, there's much more that you can do as well:

* If you haven't already, please email your Senators, urging them to oppose John Bolton. http://ga4.org/campaign/bolton/b85g574q5jen57?

* Then send an email to the White House, urging President Bush to send us a new common-sense UN nominee who can receive bi-partisan support in the Senate -- and across America. http://ga4.org/campaign/new_nominee/b85g574q5jen57?

* Plus, don't forget to invite your friends and family to email their Senators, and tell them to email President Bush as well.

Stay in close touch with me on this. I will be back to you as issues unfold.

In Friendship,

Barbara Boxer

Email your Senators

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Mai 2005

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