Tuesday, August 2, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

To my critics: if the main reason for supporting the Bolton nomination is because President Bush nominated him, then that strikes me as not a particularly good argument (indeed, it isn’t an argument at all, it is the Deion Sander Effect in operation).

That isn’t a very good political argument, nor it is one that is based in policy nor in good governance. Rather, it is simply a partisan argument.

Yes, the President wants him, and on balance I think that Presidents should get whomever they wish, but that is not an absolute right by any stretch.

I am curious as to how many think that President Clinton “should have had” Lani Guinier to head the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ in 1993? After all, the President wanted her.

And if recess appointments are no big deal, why was Senator Trent Lott so upset when President Clinton used one to appoint James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg back in 1999?

I suppose my annoyance at all of the brouhaha over Bolton is that I think that most of the supporters of the President’s action are borne not first out of desire to see the UN reformed, but out of partisan point-scoring. Indeed, I think that it is indicative of a lot what is wrong with US politics: arguing from partisanship first. I thought that we are became partisans because we thought one side was more likely to produce the policy outcomes that we prefer. Since I am of the opinion that policies I prefer would have had a slightly better chance of coming to fruition by a little capitulation on the President’s part in this case, I favored such capitulation. I think that Bolton has been (and I hate to agree with Chris Dodd) damaged by this process and therefore less likely to be able to be an agent of reform in the UN. Further, I think that upping the animosity ante for little gain isn’t helpful vis-a-vis the Senate, the press and the public.

I recognize that many disagree with me, but until someone can give me a better argument that isn’t essentially based in the “he’s the guy the President wanted” argument, I shall steadfastly stand on my position. I certainly am unconvinced that Bolton himself is such a vital soul. That is an argument more suited to judicial nominees.

Gee whiz, most of had never heard of John Bolton before this process and really don’t know all that much about him save for the fact that he has odd grooming preferences and has said some pithy things about the UN.

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11 Responses to “And Another Thing… (Yet More on Bolton)”

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    1. Henriet Cousin Says:

      Time will tell.


    2. The Misanthrope Says:

      The problem with partisan politics, especially the way it is today is that neither side will give an inch for common sense. When did this really start getting bad? I honestly don’t know, but I will venture to say that Gingrich simply turned the gas up on a simmering flame.

    3. A Knight's Blog Says:

      Poliblogger on Bolton, again . . . and again . . . and again

      Poor Steven seems to be taking some heat for his stand on the Bolton nomination/recess appointment. See here and here.
      For the record, I agree with almost everything Steven says in these posts, except for the fact that I don’t think Bolton is …

    4. Director Mitch Says:

      The real question you have to ask yourself: would any candidate that Bush put up NOT be “damaged goods” at this point?

      You think Bolton is not the right pick in the first place? Okay, fine, the time to bitch about him was when he was appointed. But to say now that he is “damaged goods” when ANY candidate put forward would be in the same place as Bolton at this point is disingenuous.

      You’re blaming the supporters of Bush’s as being partisan, when the fact is that we got here in the first place because of partisan sniping from democrats. Your solution is cave, cave, and cave some more until all 100 senators agree with the pick? No thanks. That’s not how the Constitution is set up.

      The real solution would be to push for a full vote in the senate and then convince REPUBLICANS to vote against him and why. That is how this thing is supposed to work: lobby your senator. Make some ads. Start a anti-bolton blog and convince 51 senators to vote against him. Instead your solution is for the President to hang his nominee out to dry when things get difficult. Good leaders don’t do this to their people. Plus that would just give ammunition to the minority in the senate to keep doing this instead of sending his picks to the full senate.

    5. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:


      First, have you read my rather stringent defenses of the “nuclear option”? Just search the term and read–I spilled quite a number of electrons on that one. It is rather difficult to characterize my position as “cave, cave, cave”.

      Second, the reason Bolton is damaged is partially because he is damage-able. Watch Roberts (or think back to Pryor and the other 5 Appeals Court nominees that were approved–were they damaged once on the bench? No. And neither will Roberts be despite partisan attacks.

      Third, I hope you remember all of this the next time a Democrat is in office.

      Fourth, the structure of the Senate is such that there will be situations in which a minority can block.

      Fifth, why in the world does this nomination have you so worked up?

    6. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

      And it isn’t that am opposed, per se, to Bolton; it is that I am opposed to using a recess appointment to put him in the post.

    7. Bill Says:


      I totally agree with you. When the news of the recess appointment broke, I said Pres. Bush made a mistakes. This ‘victory’ could end up being a costly one. I expect the Dems to exact revenge somewhere.

      Yes how many of us gave a hoot about Bolton before this confirmation battle started?

    8. Dean's World Says:

      Bolton Appointment

      I haven’t written much about the appointment of John Bolton to the UN, mostly because I don’t care much about the UN. It’s a vile organization run mostly by criminal thugs, tyrants, and theocrats after all. Nevertheless, Steven T…

    9. Dean Esmay Says:

      I don’t find it particularly telling that few people had heard of Bolton before this nomination. I would bet you a dollar that 95 out of 100 voters could not tell you who the last Ambassador to the UN was, and that 99 out of 100 couldn’t tell you who was UN ambassador before that.

      It’s fairly clear to me that Bolton is opposed for no particular reason except that he’s Bush’s guy and is a stern critic of the UN. I favor him because it’s refreshing to see someone who’s a stern critic of the UN be sent there.

      It is likely Bolton will disappoint me, but only because he’s likely to be nowhere near nasty enough to the pit of snakes and vipers that makes up that body. But then, honestly, if Bush sent up a guy who showed up half-naked with warpaint on his face, a bone in his nose, and a spear in his hand, screaming obscenities and calling down the wrath of God on the UN, I’d probably be delighted.

      Diplomacy isn’t about nice. It’s about being nice when nice is called for, and angry when angry is called for, and flexible when flexible is called for, and rigid when rigid is called for.

      We’ve had enough pansies who treat the UN like something sacred. In Bolton it appears we have someone who will step on toes and cause howls of rage. GOOD, I HOPE SO.

    10. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:


      Thanks for the comment and the post. We share the same ultimate goal here. I am remain unconvinced, however, that the brouhaha surrounding Bolton furthers those goals. I think it makes it easier for the global community and domestic political actors, to take Bolton and the President seriously on UN reform and I think it unnecessarily further poisons the well in terms of domestic politcs.

      Given the relative insignificance of the position in question, I don’t see the need to be confrontational over it in this manner.

      However, it is moot at this point, to be sure.


    11. PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Well, at Least He Spelled My Name Correctly… Says:

      [...] For what it is worth, I opposed the recess appointment in the first place, so I am being consistent. I didn’t see this as a “the” fight that many seem to think it was then, and I don’t see it as such now. [...]

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