Sunday, March 20, 2005

Biden and Leahy Back Wolfowitz

The Daily Standard had quite a shocker. Link.
TODAY SENATOR JOE BIDEN, vice chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading Democratic foreign policy voice in that body, voiced strong support for Paul Wolfowitz as President George W. Bush's choice to head the World Bank.

Biden described Wolfowitz, currently deputy secretary of defense, as a man with an "active and fertile mind" who believes in the work of multilateral institutions. Asked for his reaction to the selection, Biden responded with one word: "Solid." (...)

The position does not require Senate confirmation but depends on the approval of European leaders. Biden said he believes Wolfowitz will enjoy strong support in Europe. "I've had a lot of talks about Paul in European capitals. They know him as a serious intellectual and an engine of change."

Although some Democrats have criticized the selection, notably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, others have praised the pick. "I know him to be an extraordinarily intelligent, creative thinker who has the potential to do a good job at the World Bank," said Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, regarded as one of the Senate's most partisan members.

I hope it is not just their desire to get him out of the Pentagon. The fact that senatorial confirmation is not needed seems to give some Democrats the leeway to speak truth. If there were going to be senatorial hearings, the Dems probably would be unanimous in denouncing Wolfowitz. Whatever the reason, I am glad to see it.

Four years of pure obstructionism must be wearing some of them down. They probably came to Washington wanting to do something more than just shout "No!" That is what the Democratic leadership has been demanding of them consistently, and this may be the first signs that a few of them are tired of it. After all, they are senators. They represent the voters of their entire state. What kind of prestige can that job hold if they let themselves act like messenger boys for the leadership, and the only message they are asked to deliver over and over again is "No!"


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