Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Recess Appointment = Bad Idea

As I mentioned early this morning and Stygius notes in a comment below, Republican and conservative opposition to a recess appointment for John Bolton is the only way to disrupt that trajectory. Without a compromise, further Senate action on Bolton is unlikely: if Bush is intent on getting Bolton to the UN, it's going to have to happen through a recess appointment over the July 4 recess (which would make it the first time in several decades that a recess appointment has come during break of less than ten days).

A recess appointment is a bad idea on several levels, but the most important is that it sends an unconfirmed ambassador to the United Nations, a person who could not even muster sixty senators (only needing five from the minority party) to support his candidacy. His effectiveness, which as we've seen over the past few months was useful largely only to obstruct progress on various diplomatic initiatives, would be even more diminished, and the president's stated goal in sending him to the UN would be moot. Reform at the United Nations cannot be led by a hamstrung partisan ideologue without the support of his own elected representatives - leadership requires a strong voice backed by strong support, both from the Administration and Congress: a recess-appointed John Bolton would have neither.

Even proponents of John Bolton's nomination recognize this. George Allen, probably the strongest Bolton backer in the Senate, said "that's a legitimate concern" when asked if a recess appointment could undermine Bolton's effectiveness. Pat Roberts, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said "I hope that people will take a little longer look at our national interests and say that, 'Let's not go down the road to a recess appointment.'" Lincoln Chafee noted there's another way: "release the papers." George Voinovich, the only Republican to oppose cloture, told the AP "he hoped Bush would not make a recess appointment but would instead pick a new candidate for the job."

Even Joel Mowbray at ConfirmBolton.com sees the problem with a recess appointment: "Bolton would be hobbled, seen as an interloper that the corrupt international body can simply outwait."

John McCain this morning on "Today" said "We are without a U.N. ambassador at a critical time in history. We need to move forward. I hope that we can get this worked out still, but it's looking pretty dim." I'm still trying to get ahold of a more complete transcript of that appearance to see if he was asked about a recess appointment.

The way to move forward is not a recess appointment. It's to withdraw John Bolton's name and send up a decent, strong, reform-minded nominee who can be approved and get to work.


Post a Comment

<< Home