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Confirmation Inquisition: Democrats Going Nuts Over Bolton.

John Bolton faces confirmation hearings this week, delayed out of respect for the passing of Pope John Paul II, to become America's next ambassador to the United Nations. Frankly, it's amazing that President Bush was able to find anyone of Bolton's caliber to accept appointment to an organization of such ignominious repute.

As we noted before regarding Bolton, his most egregious offense is that he has stood up for American sovereignty, believing in America first. Bolton's criticisms of ineffectual and deleterious international institutions are, as John Kerry put it, "inexplicable." President Bush's selection of Bolton is simply unfathomable for many Democrats today. That America's ambassador to the United Nations could have deigned to assert that multilateralism for its own sake is no virtue, just does not compute with the worldview of many on the far left.

The Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com breaks down the Democrats' case against Bolton:

There are two principal charges. First is that Mr. Bolton distorted intelligence information in a public speech in which he warned of a possible biological weapons effort in Cuba. Second, he is said to have intimidated intelligence officials, two or three of whom Democrats may call tomorrow to testify in opposition to Mr. Bolton's confirmation. Among his accusers is Carl Ford, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, who clashed with Mr. Bolton.

Eric Pfieffer, of National Review's Beltway Buzz, notes Ford's prior testimony, from March of 2002:

Carl Ford on Bolton's Cuba comments-

"When it came time for Mr. Bolton to give his speech a month or two later, he then took the same language that had been approved earlier by the community and stuck it into his Heritage speech. Both those were our words, the intelligence community’s words, not his."

Carl Ford's own thoughts on Cuba-

"There is substantial information about Cuba’s BW (biological weapons) effort … We feel very confident about saying that they’re working and have been working on an effort that would give them a BW – limited BW offensive capability. And that’s serious enough to tell you about it."

Carl Ford on whether Bolton had unduly pressured the intelligence community-

"Secretary Bolton invited the intelligence community to provide him with some words he could use in a speech on BW. He was very careful I think not to suggest words to the community for clearance. He asked them, what do you think? What do you say? So that they came up with the lines in the speech and presented those to INR to take back to Secretary Bolton for his use."

Pfieffer explains:

Democrat Senator Chris Dodd then asked Ford if he disagreed with portions of Bolton’s Heritage Speech. Dodd said, “Did you have any disagreements with the draft [Heritage] speech?” Ford answered, “On the intelligence side, we did not. We approved it. It was the language we had provided.”

Since this is Senate testimony, we can certainly hope Ford’s past comments will be brought to light when he testifies against Bolton next Tuesday before the Senate. He, not Bolton, seems to be the one with some explaining to do.

Despite this, on April 10th's Meet The Press, Senator Rockefeller, Democrat from West Virginia, made this irresponsible and unsubstantiated charge against Bolton:

John Bolton and others clearly tried to exercise pressure, put pressure on George Tenet.

Rockefeller, Senator from the very red state of West Virginia, also demonstrated just how out of touch he is from his constituents:

MR. RUSSERT: Will you vote to confirm John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations?

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: I will certainly not do that, no.

MR. RUSSERT: You will vote against him?


William Kristol writes in The Weekly Standard that Bolton ought, in a normative sense of the word, to sail through the Senate smoothly en route to swift confirmation:

He has, after all, been confirmed for high government positions four times before. He has served in those posts with distinction during three administrations, untainted by a hint of scandal or a murmur of corner-cutting. He has been an exemplary public servant.

He also, as it happens, supports President Bush's policies, and as undersecretary of state worked hard to advance them in the first term. So the Democratic party, led by George Soros and the New York Times, thinks he shouldn't be permitted to continue to serve President Bush.

Colin Powell's primary weakness while Secretary of State was that he viewed himself as a kind of ambassador to President Bush, representing the entrenched and often dysfunctional interests of Foggy Bottom (and, sometimes, of the international community).

Alternatively, John Bolton will serve, articulate, and promote the interests of the American people, not of Jacques Chirac.

The posturing on the part of Democrats is clearly a political play to the far-left "Deaniac" wing of the party, as this Pew Research Center report suggests:


William Kristol believes the Democrats' opposition to Bolton is a losing proposition, politically:

The case against Bolton is silly and weak. Democrats want to embrace it. Let them do so, and let Republicans make them pay a price. When Bolton is reported out of committee, Senator Frist should schedule floor debate without a time limit. Republican senators should challenge their Democratic counterparts to debate John Bolton's record, and the U.N.'s record, every day, for as long as the Democrats want. The Bush administration should put senior spokesmen on TV every night to engage in an argument over whose foreign policy is preferable for the country--George Bush's or George Soros's. Republicans should welcome a discussion of whether the U.N. is just fine as it is, or requires tough-minded reform. In stimulating such a debate, Bolton would be doing yet another service to this country.

As Thomas Jefferson put it, "our attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty." Indeed, John Adams agreed, arguing that "liberty must at all hazards be supported." The mainstream of American political thought includes the notion of American exceptionalism, that the United States is special, and unique, and good. Somewhere along the line, Thomas Jefferson's party lost that ideal.

From a practical standpoint, the world needs effective international institutions to advocate and assist in the march of freedom and spread of democracy; the United States cannot do it alone. The United Nations, for all of its historical and current shortcomings, still has the capability to promote a clear moral vision for the world, based on universal (or, God-given, if you prefer) values articulated by America's Founders.

During this time of unprecedented scandal, inexplicable moral equivalence, and laughable worthlessness at the United Nations, it's time for a little tough love, it's time to inject a little moral clarity, it's time to get serious about the advance of liberty. If anyone can overhaul this fustian charade that is the UN, it's John Bolton.

More from Scrappleface.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 April 2005 05:04 AM


The Dems. are so lame! The United Nations is one of those nostalgic relics of the past such as Social Security that the Democrats just can't seem to let go of! If the Dems. continue the way they are on the path to nowhere. I believe they will be outed in the coming elections. The only people who consider saving Social Security are those who work for the Gov. They have their own programs. Why not let the next generation have to fix it?

Posted by: Buffy at April 11, 2005 11:58 AM

Thank you, I enjoy reading your blog.
But (you knew that was coming, didn’t you)
Please, the newspeak expression “hetro-normative” was already bad enough.
You (or somebody) wrote, “William Kristol writes in The Weekly Standard that Bolton ought, in a normative sense of the word, to sail through the Senate smoothly en route to swift confirmation”

“Normative” is academic-ese bs, and it undermines the credibiltiy of anyone using it. Besides, it’s counter-normative.

Posted by: gerry at April 12, 2005 04:11 PM