"Mr. Bolton could be an unintended beneficiary of the broader fight in the Senate over the appointment of federal judges. Showdown votes are coming on controversial Bush picks for the appellate court as well as an effort to change rules to prevent Democrats from filibustering judicial nominees. Some moderate Democrats from conservative states, who are under great pressure to side with their party on those votes, may not want to arouse conservatives back home by going against the administration on Mr. Bolton as well."
"Another possibility would be that Chairman Richard Lugar of Indiana could send the nomination back to President Bush. He would refer it to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who could put the matter directly on the Senate calendar and skip the committee altogether."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) predicted yesterday that John Bolton will be confirmed to be ambassador to the U.N., the Washington Post's Dafna Linzer reports. Meanwhile, White House spokesman Scott McClellan came out with a variation on the "if you're not with us you're against us" theme on the nomination, and Bolton was doing some PR on the Hill on Tuesday, Linzer writes. Note well: "President Bush and Senate Republicans indicated they are considering a showdown vote on the Senate floor even if the foreign relations panel does not endorse Bolton." To be interviewed next week: senior intelligence officials. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's editorial board says the "the real motives [behind opposition to Boston] are a combination of ideological animus and bureaucratic score-settling"
"The reason the administration nominated Bolton is that his method of operating -- the exaggeration, the bullying -- was commonplace. It was the music by which the Bush administration marched us all to war. More specifically, it was the tune played by Cheney, Bolton's chief champion," writes Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. LINK
The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act passed the House last night and goes to the Senate, where advocates for the anti-abortion law fear it will be bottled up, even with the newly amplified Republican majority.
The Washington Post's dashing Tom Edsall reports that the Senate rules committee yesterday signed off on a measure to keep 527 groups from using unlimited contributions to put political ads on the air, freaking out advocacy groups on both sides and prompting Senate Democrats to call the bill, which could go to the Senate floor next month, a "Trojan horse" to benefit Republicans. LINK
Rep. Clay Shaw wants the FEC to oversee 527s, Roll Call reports.
Roll Call's Suzanne Nelson also has details about the measures heard by a House committee last week.
Roll Call's Erin Billings reports that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi scheduled private meetings with House Democratic moderates on Wednesday in an effort to keep the caucus together.
Roll Call's Mark Preston looks at the requests by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) urging their party leadership to require nominees for president and vice president to name successors - just to make sure that a clear line is set. They petitioned the RNC's Ken Mehlman and the DNC's Howard Dean after presenting their bipartisan bill to change the law governing succession.