It would have been a nice touch if the U.S. Senate had confirmed Condoleezza Rice as the nation's first black female secretary of state on the same day that her boss, President George W. Bush, was inaugurated for a second term.
But it was not to be, even though the Foreign Relations Committee, which for a couple of days had mercilessly grilled her on her role as national security adviser, voted 16-2 to approve her. The two Democratic soreheads voting "no" were Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts. What is that about Kerry "moving to the center" for another run in 2008?
Holding up a confirmation vote by the full Senate until next week is another small band of Democrat malcontents who want to - in the name of "debate" - engage in some more fire-breathing Bush- and Rice-bashing.
It would have been a mark of consideration, statesmanship and good sportsmanship if Democrats had let her confirmation, which is inevitable anyway, take place in a timely fashion.
It would also have kept faith with the Senate's proud tradition of maintaining civility and good feelings among members who often don't agree with each other. But the ability to disagree without being disagreeable is beyond the reach of some Democrats these days, even in the Senate.
Why be nice and cooperative when they can be mean-spirited and uncooperative? They're not constructive critics; they're spiteful hate-mongers.
That's lamentable enough. But to unnecessarily delay the confirmation vote of the secretary of State - again, a confirmation which is a fait accompli - during wartime and during great unrest among our allies, and posturing by our enemies, is nothing less than unconscionable and reckless.
These people are playing with our diplomatic standing and our security to score a few debating points. Shame on them.
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