Thursday, May 05, 2005
A lot of those whom Bolton apparently "kicked down" have kicked back. We heard from intelligence agents who claim he tried to dump them for disagreeing. We heard from a foreign aid worker who said Bolton chased her down the halls of a Russian hotel, not out of lust but anger, "Throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and generally behaving like a madman."
This elicited a defense from President Bush who described Bolton as "a blunt guy" who "isn't afraid to speak his mind." Around Boston, we call this the Larry Summers Defense in honor of those conservatives who recast the Harvard president as a defender of "free speech." But the question is less about being outspoken than about silencing any opposition.
I grant you that the Bush administration does not belong to the "Getting to Yes" school of foreign policy. But after giving savvy spinmistress Karen Hughes the job of public diplomacy, why give John Bolton the job of publicly unraveling that diplomacy?
Now let's take a look at some of the Democrats that she let's off the hook:
1. Senator Kennedy
Sen. Ted Kennedy once blew up at his staff after finding out they hadn't completed work on a bioterrorism bill he favored. As stunned witnesses looked on, Kennedy turned on his aides and barked: "You bastards - get it done!"
2. Senator Biden
Just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, a group of pilots and flight attendants met with Sen. Joe Biden in hopes of getting him to support emergency benefits for laid off airline employees. Biden listened for a few minutes, then shot back:
"I hope you will support my work on Amtrak as much as I have supported you. If not, I will screw you badly."
3. Senator Clinton
After keeping the lobbyist and several health company executives waiting for an hour, Hillary finally walked into the conference room, slammed some papers on the table and then erupted:
"Gentlemen, I have looked at your proposal, and it's pure bulls - - t. You've had your meeting - now get out!"
I am not trying to excuse rude behavior, but the left is being selective if they claim Bolton is unqualified because of alleged bad behavior, and then not applying it to those on their own side. What this really boils down to is that the left cannot attack Bolton's qualifications, so they are attacking his character. Here is an excerpt from a letter of support for Bolton that the SAEN doesn't seem to find newsworthy:Each of us have worked with Mr. Bolton. We know him to me a man of personal and intellectual integrity, deeply devoted to the service of this country and promotion of our foreign policy interests as established by this President and the Congress. Not one of us has ever witnessed conduct on his part that resembles that which has been alleged. We that out collective knowledge of him and what he stands for, combined with our own experiences in government and in the private sector, more than counterbalances the credibility of those who have tried to destroy the distinguished achievements of a lifetime.
And from another letter of support for Bolton:We, the undersigned, have been appalled by the charges that have been leveled at John Bolton during the course of his nomination hearing to be this countrys ambassador to the United Nations. Rather than a rational, mature discussion about the future course American policy should take with respect to the United Nations, and to whether and to what extent John Bolton's extensive knowledge with the UN further that course, what we have witnessed has been a character assassination masquerading as a nomination hearing. Mr. Bolton spent a full day before your Committee prepared to delve deeply into issues of foreign policy, and yet all but a sliver of the Committee's time was devoted to unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct.
The "undersigned" in the above letter are twenty former colleagues of John Bolton.
Don't forget Hanoi John Kerry, in the middle of the 2004 campaign, screaming at the Secret Service agent who knocked him down by accident on the ski slope, calling the guy a "son of a bitch"...