Sunday, June 05, 2005

Thune to vote against Bolton in protest

SD Senator John Thune, fresh from a victory that saw the previous Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle get kicked out of office, doesn't want the Pentagon to close down Ellsworth Air Force Base. So he'll vote against John Bolton's nomination for Ambassador to the UN.

::::::::Sen. John Thune (search), a self-described loyal Republican, said he's considering using his most powerful weapon — his vote on the U.S. Senate floor — against President Bush's nominee for U.N. ambassador, a notable break with the administration that is tied to his displeasure over the base-closing proposal.

"My loyalty in this particular matter is with the people of South Dakota, always has been, always will be," Thune said.

Well, that's great, John, but what does John Bolton have to do with your base closure? He's never even been remotely involved with the process. The only way this can do anything about the base closure is if you think President Bush will call up Rumsfeld and tell him to order the base removed from the BRAC list so the President can get your vote back. I'm no public official, John, but I have to tell you that I think attempting public political blackmail against the President - the most powerful single politician hailing from the party that put your sorry butt into office - when you haven't even been in the job for a year is likely not the smartest move in the book.

I can understand Thune's thoughts, here. SD doesn't have that large of a population and the loss of Ellsworth would be a major hit to the State. I don't see a whole lot of businesses looking to relocate their international headquarters there, so that loss wouldn't be even remotely easy to recover. And I'm OK with Thune putting his constituents first. That's his job, let's recall. But I can't condone this kind of action when it just seems such a non-sequitur. Voting against military funding of another project, I could see. Something with some connection to the BRAC list. If this ploy doesn't work, what's left? Voting against judicial nominees?

There are several bases on the BRAC list and no one wants their base to be the one to close. I expect Thune to fight to keep his bases open. He should expect people to remember well how he fights.