FLASHBACK: May 8, 2001Senate Narrowly Refuses to Block Bolton Nomination

On May 8, by a vote of 57 to 43, the Senate confirmed the nomination of conservative John R. Bolton, an occasional Human Events author, to be undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Democrats used the vote on Bolton as a way to attack President Bush’s policies. They have also not forgotten, but rarely mention, that Bolton was a frequent pro-Bush spokesman on TV during the Florida election controversy. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D.-N.D.) said: “This is a terrible nomination. I indicated yesterday that I don’t know Mr. John Bolton. I have not met him. But I have read a great deal about what he said about a number of issues. To nominate Mr. John Bolton to be undersecretary of state for arms control defies logic.† Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) opposed Bolton because Bolton agrees with President Bush’s declared policy on missile defense. Kennedy also attacked Bolton for writing, in 1994, “There is no such thing as the United Nations.† Sen. Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. (D.-Del.) implied that any undersecretary for arms control must favor disarmament. “I have always had difficulty voting for nominees who hold views that are antithetical to or at odds with the responsibilities they have.† Biden also said that opposition to the Kosovo war was an unacceptable position. “I am concerned that Mr. Bolton’s consistent criticism of the NATO action in Kosovo indicates a lack of commitment to the stability of Southeastern Europe–a position I find unacceptable for the person who would supervise security assistance programs to the region.† Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, defended Bolton. “He is a patriot, a brilliant thinker and a talented writer. But most important, John Bolton has the courage of his convictions. He says what he means, he means what he says, and he says it well, which is precisely what is needed at the State Department.† A “yes† vote was a vote to confirm John Bolton to be undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. A “no† vote was a vote to kill his nomination.


REPUBLICANS FOR (50): Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chafee, Cochran, Collins, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Gramm (Tex.), Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Helms, Hutchinson (Ark.), Hutchison (Tex.), Inhofe, Jeffords, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith (N.H.), Smith (Ore.), Snowe, Specter, Stevens, Thomas, Thompson, Thurmond, Voinovich and Warner. DEMOCRATS FOR (7): Bayh, Breaux, Feingold, Landrieu, Lieberman, Miller and Nelson (Neb.).


DEMOCRATS AGAINST (43): Akaka, Baucus, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Byrd, Cantwell, Carnahan, Carper, Cleland, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feinstein, Graham (Fla.), Harkin, Hollings, Inouye, Johnson, Kennedy, Kerry, Kohl, Leahy, Levin, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow, Torricelli, Wellstone and Wyden.