Wednesday, July 13, 2005

John Bolton. Remember Him?

It's been a while since we got a new blockbuster Bolton story, but the Washington Post sates our craving in Wednesday editions. Actually I'm not sure it's blockbuster (at least until the last three paragraphs) - but it's something. Here's what we 'learn' from Charles Babington and Dafna Linzer:

- Bolton will accept a recess appointment to the UN if one is offered next month, according to "an administration source who is close to Bolton." "The president has made his selection, and the president is asking the Senate to confirm the selection, and if the Senate refuses to do that, then most assuredly [Bush] will make a recess appointment," said the source. The next possible opening for a recess appointment begins on July 30, when the Senate begins its August break.

- "There is no indication that Bush has considered withdrawing the nomination and seeking another candidate."

- If the White House is actually trying to negotiate a settlement with the Senate, it's unclear who they're discussing that with. Said Connecticut's Chris Dodd: "I haven't heard anything. I talked to the White House today on other matters, and it didn't come up."

- "Bolton - who lost the title of undersecretary of state June 1 when his successor, Robert Joseph, was sworn in - has spent the past four months in a transition suite at the State Department, and colleagues said he continues to ready himself for the ambassadorship."

- Here's the kicker. This one's actually pretty ridiculous:

"Two months ago, when his confirmation was in trouble, Bolton began efforts to double the office space reserved within the State Department for the ambassador to the United Nations, according to three senior department officials who were involved in handling the request.

Previous ambassadors have kept a small staff in Washington in a modest suite shy of 1,500 square feet. Bolton told several colleagues that he needs additional space and a larger staff in Washington because, if confirmed, he intends to spend more time here than his predecessors did.

'Bolton isn't going to sit in New York while policy gets made in Washington,' the administration source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. But Bolton's efforts to obtain more space have encountered resistance. Two colleagues said Bolton's request was inappropriate because he had not been confirmed."

So wait. President Bush has been saying he wants to send Bolton to the UN to push through reforms. But our UN Ambassador "isn't going to sit in New York while policy gets made in Washington"? Does anybody else see a contradiction here?

Wow. At least this offers up a shiny brand-new line of argument for Bolton opponents: we want an ambassador to the United Nations who will actually represent us there!

[Update: Steve Clemons has some additional angles to this story, here. -- 6:43 a.m.]


At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Simon said...

As I recall, the dems are filibustering Bolton by demanding documents that it's been made clear to them that they aren't going to get, is that right? In all the SCOTUS excitement, I've rather lost track of this one.

At 6:47 AM, Blogger JBD said...

John Bolton's confirmation is being blocked by a White House which is refusing to answer legitimate requests (made by Democrats and Republicans) for information pertaining to Bolton's suitability for the position to which he's been nominated.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Charles Amico said...

If President Bush appoints Bolton during a Senate recess, in defiance of the request for documents by Se. Biden and Senator Dodd, President Bush risks breaking the consultive approach he has taken on the Supreme Court Justcice nominations. Then there will be an excuse for all out war between the Senate and the Executive branch and between the Senate itself. Sincerity to work together requires they do it on all matters, not just for appearances on some that are getting much press attention.


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