Saturday, May 28, 2005

That didn't take long. Democrats filibustering nominees again

As you likely know by now, less than 48 hours after the "gang of 14" Senators made their announcement that they'd saved the Republic, Democrats voted against cloture on the matter of confirming another of Bush's nominees, this time John Bolton, nominee for UN Ambassador. So much for trusting in the fairplay of the Democrats. Now, of course, they're coming up with new reasons why they won't allow a vote, this time pointing to some classified documents at the State Department they supposedly need before they can decide. After Harry Reid's references to there being something in the classified report on Henry Saad while speaking in the open on the Senate floor, I can just imagine that most of the agencies in Washington are just a little wary of handing over more classified documents to the Dems. Seems they can't be trusted to keep the information, well, classified when they feel they're not getting their way. I have no faith they won't do the same here, and neither, apparently, does the President and Secretary of State. The President has said the Dems shouldn't expect to get access to those documents any time soon.

::::::::The Bush administration said yesterday that Democratic senators should not expect to get the documents they are seeking before they will allow an up-or-down vote on John R. Bolton, whom the president nominated to be ambassador to the United Nations.

"They have what they need," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Intelligence Committee have had access to this sensitive, highly classified information. The Democrats clamoring for it have already voted against the nomination. This is about partisan politics."
::::::::

The Democrats are crying like they're being completely cut off from the information and that is not true. In fact, they've seen the redacted, declassified variants of the e-mails and communications intercepts they're asking for and they've not seen the classified variants because not every Democrat is cleared to see every classified document created by the government. As I explained before, there are levels of classification for all documents produced by the government. The highest baseline classification is Top Secret, or "TS". After that, information can be more restricted to just certain groups of people holding TS clearances. That's called "secure compartmentalized information" and it means that even though you may have a TS clearance, it's a matter of whether your job function requires access to that specific info that determines whether you get to see it. Now, here's the really critical part about this process and it's the part the Democrats want to obscure. When a person with a proper baseline clearance wants to see "SCI" information, it's the owner of the information that makes the call whether or not that person has a need to know, not the person wanting the information. That makes sense if you think about it for a minute. If a person without previous clearance to see classified info can force another to allow him access simply on his say-so, then the clearance process doesn't really work, does it? So, the owner of the information, in this case, is the State Department and the President. The Democrats don't like that, so they're blackmailing the President with a filibuster.

Either that, or they don't really need the information. They're delaying and using it as an excuse.

Zell Miller wrote in his book, "A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat" that the President should get his nominees passed. He said, "I went to Washington believing that a president should be able to select his own team and make out his own batting order." Miller thinks that it's undemocratic and un-American that a minority should overrule a majority, and I agree. The Democrats have stood there complaining that Bolton's not diplomatic enough, that he bullies people, and that he manipulated intel reports to prove his own points. They can prove none of this, but that's of no concern to them. They haven't been abe to bear the thought of the American people deciding - by majority rule, no less - that their ideas and stances on things aren't the way to go. That there's a better set of ideas across the aisle. In the face of a definitive majority decision against them, Ted Kennedy remarked that the Democrats really spoke for the majority of Americans anyway. They can't stand not being able to simply dictate the direction America is going, so they use every dirty trick in the book.

I hope the 7 Republican Senators who so happily signed away their responsibility to act like the majority party are paying attention. The Democrats cannot be trusted to live up to their word on the filibuster. Figure it out, ladies & gentlemen, before it's too late.