Bush Pulls the Trigger
Today President Bush announced the recess appointment of John Bolton to the post of United Nations Ambassador. Despite the fact that he has the votes to be confirmed, some Senate Democrats used the filibuster to prevent him coming up for a vote. The job has been vacant for six months now.
On one level, I have mixed emotions. I'm no fan of the UN, and leaving the post vacant would make a statement. But on the other hand, I'm glad that Bush went ahead with the appointment. If he allows his agenda to be held hostage by a minority in the Senate, Bush will become the lame duck so many in the opposition want him to be. By exercising his option to do a recess appointment, I think Bush is firing a shot across the bow of his opponents, letting them know that he still means business.
This has implications for the coming fight over the John Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court. Bush is staking out his ground as being willing to fight. I heard someone say that the Bolton recess appointment would make the Democrats mad and thus hurt Roberts' chances. The Democrats already disapprove of Bush and pretty much anyone he appoints. They've been using (I'd argue misusing from a historical perspective) the filibuster for years, and show no signs of stopping. I don't see that changing, unless the 2006 elections shift the balance of power in the Senate further.