Don’t Bolt on Bolton

By: Thomas Lindaman

More than a few Republicans were sweating out Election Day 2006, but one of them had to be U. N. Ambassador John Bolton. Remember, he got the job when President Bush made a recess appointment to put him in the post. Now, Bolton has to be approved by the Senate, which as we know is tentatively controlled by the Democrats by virtue of a 49-49-2 makeup, with the 2 Independents tending to skew Democrat.

Bolton has been a thorn in the Democrats’ sides since he was brought up as a nominee. Democrats said Bolton would send the wrong message to the world and to the U. N. because, get this, he was “too gruff.” Yeah, and calling Bush everything from stupid to Hitler is pillow talk, right? Either way, the prospects that Bolton will be confirmed by the Senate to be Ambassador are dimmer than the people who green-lighted the remake of “House of Wax” and made Paris Hilton an actress.

Or are they? Maybe it’s my askew way of looking at the world, but I think the Democrats have to get Bolton appointed this time because their future as majority party in Congress is at stake. How, you ask? Here are six reasons I came up with.

1) The Democrats don’t have the political capital to make such a move. Sure, Democrats control both houses of Congress (at least until Jack Abramoff starts singing like Taylor Hicks…and hopefully doesn’t start dancing like him), but the reality is that their majority is narrower than the crawl space at Kate Moss’s house. That leaves Democrats in a situation where they have the majority in terms of numbers, but not in terms of being able to get stuff done. In order to build confidence that the Democrats really are willing to work with Bush and the Republicans (which will go a long way to building political capital with the public), they will have to throw Bush a bone and allow Bolton to stay on as U. N. Ambassador.

2) The Democrats haven’t made a good argument to reject Bolton. Have you seen the reasons Democrats give to reject Bolton? They’re weaker than the plot of a murder mystery written by Tony Danza. If they have anything more substantial than “Bolton is a poopyhead,” I haven’t seen it, and I doubt they do. The opposition to Bolton has been limited to his personality than to his ability. He’s too gruff and blunt? Heck, that’s Simon Cowell’s shtick, and we let him on American television. Hardly a reason to keep Bolton out of the U.N.

3) Keeping Bolton adds weight to the Democrats’ call for an end to the “culture of corruption.” Democrats ran on a platform of ridding corruption from Washington, DC, and they were swept into power as a result. (Of course, they haven’t said anything about getting rid of William Jefferson, Alcee Hastings, John Murtha, or Harry Reid, but it’s still early). It’s an admirable goal, but why stop there? The United Nations is rife with corruption, as the oil for food scandal proved. And who has been leading the charge against U. N. corruption? John Bolton. If the Democrats really want to appear serious about eliminating the “culture of corruption,” they need to keep John Bolton on the payroll because he’s actually doing it on the global stage.

4) Not enough people know who Bolton is to support the Democrats on this. It’s no secret that a majority of people in America aren’t doing their homework on civics. A poll released before the election showed more Americans could name the Three Stooges than could name members of the Supreme Court. (And while we’re on the subject, how come they were called the Three Stooges when there were five of them?) In order to get the people behind an effort to oust Bolton, Democrats need to explain who he is, and even then there’s no guarantee that they’ll remember. After all, they need to save that brain power to keep up with “Survivor.” By the time you get enough people in the general public to know John Bolton isn’t Michael’s older brother, the vote will pretty much be over. Save yourself the trouble and just vote for the guy.

5) Bolton has experience in the job. Like it or not, the guy’s been in the U. N. long enough to know how things work there. Taking him out would mean a new Ambassador would have to be chosen and the learning curve would be steeper than the interest on the national debt. Given some of the things out there that have to be dealt with, such as Darfur, we don’t need someone in a paper “U. N. Trainee” hat at the helm. We need experience, and that is spelled “John Bolton.” (Especially if you’re using “Whole Language” to teach spelling.)

And finally, the most important reason…

6) Bush can make another recess appointment. The President has the power to appoint people to some positions without Senate approval if he feels it’s important that someone serve in the role and the Senate is in recess. This is called, appropriately enough, a recess appointment. Although he can’t renew Bolton’s spot through this method, he can appoint someone else through a recess appointment. And from what I understand, Donald Rumsfeld is out of a job, and he’s as loyal to Bush and America as Bolton is. If Democrats want to avoid having to say “Ambassador Rumsfeld,” they’ll keep Bolton on the job.

Thomas Lindaman is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He is also a writer for, and Publisher of

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