These days I’m feeling a bit guilty that I voted against George Voinovich every chance I got. When I was an Ohio resident, he ran for governor twice and then for the senate. True to my “yellow dog Democrat” status, I always voted for the democratic candidate, even when his only qualifications were having had the good fortune to marry Senator Howard Metzenbaum’s daughter.
Voinovich was a pretty good governor. Nothing really bad happened in Ohio during his tenure. Or at least nothing bad we could blame on him.
But lately, I've been finding that I'm very impressed with Senator Voinovich. During the senate committee discussions over John Bolton’s nomination for Ambassador to the United Nations. I really liked his analogy of “the kitchen test.” He said in making personnel decisions, he never hired anybody who he wouldn’t want to invite into his kitchen. John Bolton failed the test hands down.
Then Voinovich went on to broker the judicial nominee compromise that kept the senate from shutting down, proving that it is still possible to work out a bi-partisan agreement.
But it was George Voinovich’s impassioned plea against John Bolton that really caught my admiration. He called Bolton “the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be,” and went on to point out that in a letter signed by former secretaries of state, the signature of the one who had been Bolton’s boss, Colin Powell, was conspicuously absent.
In a letter to the New York Times, Voinovich said he was concerned "that John Bolton’s nomination sends a negative message to the world community and contradicts the President’s efforts. In these dangerous times, we cannot afford to put at risk our nation’s ability to successfully wage and win the war on terror with a controversial and ineffective Ambassador to the United Nations."
We need all the friends we can get and a guy who "kisses up and kicks down" is not going to help us win friends and influence people.
For now, the nomination has stalled again. Democrats held the vote until the White House provides key documents and e-mail regarding Bolton’s dealings with intelligence operatives. So it will be at least another couple of weeks as they’re in recess now.
Wouldn’t it be great if the rest of us could take ten days off for Memorial Day too?
The Republican party is now so beholden to its right wing base, it seems to have forgotten that not everyone espouses those hardline views, like send in this hardass to shake up the United Nations, which should be dismantled anyway. I’m sure there are a fair number of registered Republicans who feel their party has been hijacked by a group of religious conservatives bent on pushing their agenda through. I’m hoping they’ll say “enough’s enough,” and push for moderates.
Voinovich for president? Maybe I might vote for him.