Monday, August 01, 2005

Rhett Butler Appoints Flavor Flav

So the "I don't give a damn" president puts the bad boy with a big clock around his neck into an office on the East River.

I believe that a president should have considerable leeway to appoint whomever he pleases to positions such as U.N. ambassador. This is not a lifetime Supreme Court-type of position, after all. And an ambassador is essentially a messenger and a mouthpiece for policy developed by others; he's kept on a short leash and does almost nothing substantial on his own.

But as an unpopular president with absolutely zero mandate stuck in the middle of a major scandal involving national secrets (and who first became president in a roundabout way surrounded by questions about his own legitimacy, incidentally), Bush has violated the spirit of the president's right to make a recess appointment---and in doing so, he's shown partisanship, cynicism and cowardice. And since we will all now be represented at the U.N. by an illegitimate short-timer whose own role in Leakgate has yet to be clarified, Bush has also shown a shameful eagerness to put his own interests above those of the nation.

Has this administration ever attempted to explain the ridiculous non sequitur that Bolton is needed to "reform" the United Nations? Assuming some type of institutional reform actually fell under the purview of an ambassador, won't those who need to "be reformed" simply run out the clock on this guy?

Perhaps the most important and ominous takeaway from this appointment is that the inexplicable, abject zealotry displayed by the administration on this does not happen in a vacuum. I suspect in the coming months we'll learn exactly what about Bush's geopolitical agenda makes it crucial for John Bolton to have this exact job at this particular point in time.


Blogger Jake said...

I hope it's not in order to bring about the Rapture.

8/01/2005 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one word - Iran.

8/01/2005 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard the theory that Bush wants Bolton there to sell an invasion of Iran but why would Bush care what the UN thinks one way or another, and to sell it you would need some credibility, like Powell used to have. This guy will be a joke. Frankly I'd rather have this guy at the UN rather than making decisions at State or the Pentagon.

(One theory is that Rice thinks Bolton is such a disaster that she wanted him to "fail upwards" into the UN).

8/01/2005 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this appointment is an OUTRAGE.

8/01/2005 12:42 PM  
Blogger David Studhalter said...

Hear, hear! TCR has it exactly right.

8/01/2005 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Bolton at the UN, we may find the role of the United States irrelevant to to the mission of the UN. Where there is some hope for peacekeeping, arms control, and aid; I would not be surprised if more and more states choose to bypass the UN and the United States altogether to form separate agreements and alliances. Bush blew his one chance to have the UN come into Iraq by cutting everyone else out of the governance and reconstruction business and Boltons appointment can't be accidental when added to our breech of non proliferation protocols.

8/01/2005 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think it would be great to see them spin the plame blame on bolton now that he is going to have diplomatic immunity, then they can fire him cause no one wanted him there anyway and rove gets off scot free.

8/01/2005 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am praying that Bolton horribly and hilariously embarasses Bush - throws one of his tantrums on tape or something.

8/01/2005 2:00 PM  
Anonymous kindness said...

Bush doesn't care what anyone else thinks. He's made that clear several times in his tenure.

After what bush & co did in Iraq, it won't matter if the UN see's pictures of Iran's PM riding a bomb a la Dr. Strangelove, the UN isn't going to touch Iran or let the US or the Brits touch it either.

8/01/2005 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So 'god' has spoken and we have a dolt Bolton at the UN. Does anybody think that the other countries will believe a word he will have to say. They can read and listen just as well as anybody else, with the difference that they think intelligently, whith the White House and Capital Hill are no longer able to do.
Talk about marginalizing this country in international affairs, he sure picked the right one to carry it off. But then this country has little creditablity and integrity left, except for the bootlickers, who come back even after getting kicked around again and again.
I wonder if Bolton will remmember that a certain type of behavior is expected and demanded at the UN, or will he think that because he is the US representative he can do anything he wants and at anytime.
Well, time will tell. Personally I don't think he will be able to restrain himself.
Problem is, sorry to say, that it will be no laughing matter.

8/01/2005 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous [8/01/2005 1:10 PM] said...

With Bolton at the UN, we may find the role of the United States irrelevant to to the mission of the UN. Where there is some hope for peacekeeping, arms control, and aid; I would not be surprised if more and more states choose to bypass the UN and the United States altogether to form separate agreements and alliances. Bush blew his one chance to have the UN come into Iraq by cutting everyone else out of the governance and reconstruction business and Boltons appointment can't be accidental when added to our breech of non proliferation protocols.

I wonder if that's the point: destroy the UN?

8/01/2005 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Bush should be able to appoint whomever he chooses. Congess could have voted no. Or voted at all. Why haven't they? Are the Democrats afraid of the President's "zero mandate". Yes. And that's what's real.

8/01/2005 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Shep said...

Is this sleaze-in-your-face appointment of Bolton a harbinger of a nefarious plot, whether Iran invasion or whatever? Or is it simply the latest in an unending string of mindless power grabs for power's sake, just Bush's trademark infantile unwillingness to be wrong or refused? Maybe it's both.

I think what transpires from this will be quite telling. If Bolton ends up a nobody at a dead-end job, then I guess Bush was just being obstinate, ever fearful that the slightest crack in their veneer will spill out their putrid roiling insides. But if Bolton is the final piece of the neocon team -- Negroponte, Gonzales, Rice, Wolfowitz make for a most discomforting bill of newly empowered players, into which Bolton fits quite nicely -- the ultimate power grab may loom sooner than we might want to think. Hard for me to see the trendline leading anywhere else.

8/01/2005 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post.

8/01/2005 8:19 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

James Wolcott's post today on Bolton is pretty funny. He links to a Wayne Madsen who is claiming that every intelligence op at the UN will be spying on Bolton, just itching to leak any misstep to the UN press corps and a hostile NYC media.

I was revolted when I found out that he was one of those thugs pounding on the glass and scaring the counters at the Miami election board during the 2000 recount.

8/01/2005 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for anonymous with the anti-donkey bias:

THE UNWANTED MAN....Dan Drezner on John Bolton's recess appointment as ambassador to the UN:

My views on Bolton remain unchanged -- from the Bush administration's perspective, this is an unwanted man being sent to an unwanted institution.

OK, I guess I can buy that. I gather that Dan's point is that since the Bush administration loathes the UN anyway, it hardly matters who they send there. And at least this appointment gets Bolton far, far away from a job with real influence.

So there's your silver lining for the day.

UPDATE: As long as we're on the subject, though, the Mock Turtle reminds us that the holdup on Bolton's nomination was the fault of Bush, not Senate Democrats:

It is not that Bolton was denied an up-or-down vote as Bush is claiming. On the contrary, his up-or-down vote was waiting only for the release of the full documents from the White House that were needed so that the Senate could make that vote. Once the Senate had those documents the vote would have gone ahead.

Bolton had not yet been confirmed because of the White House's actions, not because of the Senate's. It was the White House that was stalling, not the Senate. And let's be equally clear on why George Bush made a recess appointment. It was so he could avoid releasing the requested documents.

So what was in those documents, anyway? They've sure gone to a lot of effort to keep them secret.

8/01/2005 11:40 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

When Bush is out of office, the country is going to wake up one day as though they were drugged and wonder how so much damage could have been done while they were asleep. Bush is a coward hiding behind a strong man's image. A strong man can accept mistakes and criticism and make changes. Bush cannot and it shows his weakness.

8/02/2005 12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah right, it's the documents and Bush's refusal to release them that held up the vote. And before that it was because Bolton was a big meany. And then it would have been something else. The Democrats want to vote no (just as they want vote no on any Conservative nomination), and is anybody going to maintain seriously that opposition to Bolton came about after it was learned he requested some documents from NSA? Bolton was opposed from the get-go. The Democrats would have continued to dig for dirt and express shock each time they thought they found it, until Bush appointed Bill Clinton ambassador to the UN.
The President nominates the ambassador, Congress doesn't. Congress votes yes or no. They didn't. Do you believe the Democrats would have ever stopped looking for a reason to stall the vote?

8/02/2005 1:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the really beautiful part- the Democrats could have blocked the appointment by voting no. If the Democrats believed these documents Bolton requested were so important, they should have told the Bush, "We cannot in good conscience confirm the nomination of this candidate because of serious concerns about his character and integrity which you, Mr President, refuse to address to our satisfaction. Therefore, we must here and now vote no." But they left for recess (a very apt term) knowing that Bush could and probably would appoint Bolton in their absence. By going on recess before a vote, they tacitly approved the nomination. That is simple realism. Let me say it again- they could have taken a stand courageously to prevent an unfit reprobate representing us at the UN. Why did they let you guys down?

8/02/2005 1:52 AM  
Anonymous tupost said...

Well, the next few years are going to be interesting. I'd rather they be boring.

8/02/2005 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it says more about the character of the Republican party.

If you hate corrupt government, good Republicans have to speak out and take control of the party.

8/02/2005 9:59 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

We might well ask, considering the hash that Bolton made of dealing with Russian nukes and North Korea, why is it that Republicans are opposed to keeping American safe from nuclear weapons?

8/02/2005 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As suggested earlier the role of Bolton at the UN is quite simple - to undermine the UN. Note that conservative US outcry over the UN and its place in today's world has increased by leaps and bounds in the the the past 6-8 year, and if your purpose is to reduce the efficacy of the UN and nudge nations towards non-UN dealings, doesnt it make sense to appoint an guy who's very presence will precipiate that?

8/05/2005 3:09 PM  

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