It’s Not About Bolton

May 12, 2005

Sen. Joe Biden, in his laborious monologue to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concerning the appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, denied he and other Democrats were on a witchhunt against Bolton. Granted. The fight isn’t about Bolton but President Bush.

Their primary purpose is not to smear Bolton, though that’s a sacrifice they’re willing to make; it’s to thwart the president’s foreign policy, with which they radically disagree. It’s to prevent him from exercising his constitutional authority to appoint qualified and respectable individuals to represent him in various departments of government.

Would someone please tell the Democrats they lost the 2004 elections and they’ll have another shot in 2006 and again in 2008? I’m doubtful Republican officeholders are going to tell them, much less show them.

Democrats chose to make the election largely a referendum on President Bush’s foreign policy, and they got trounced. But they are treating their loss as a mandate to run things as a militant minority. They don’t care what the American people said about the president’s policy toward Iraq, or North Korea, or Israel or the United Nations. Their policies are manifestly superior, and so they must prevail, irrespective of democratic processes or the Constitution.

During one of those pregnant pauses Biden routinely takes to primp and pose before the television cameras to showcase his insufferably smug mug, I wish someone would tell him, “Joe, we know you’re God’s gift to humanity, but could we please move past the narcissism for a moment?”

No, Joe, this isn’t about trashing Mr. Bolton for sport. It’s about President Bush’s “unilateralism,” the Bush Doctrine, preemption, the Axis of Evil, those ephemeral or non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. It’s about the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, American sovereignty, France, Germany, Russia and Cuba. It’s about the United States’ evil nuclear superiority. It’s about the United States provoking Islamic terrorists to attack Americans on American soil. It’s about Democrats flexing their muscles about all these issues to make sure the United States rarely flexes hers.

The Democrats cannot countenance John Bolton’s appointment, because unlike most career bureaucrats at the State Department, he will seek to carry out the president’s foreign policy agenda. Such an unprecedented move must not be permitted to happen. Where would the world be, after all, if President Bush didn’t have appeasement-oriented liberals at state and in foreign ambassadorships to hold him in check?

I’ll consider the possibility that Biden is telling the truth in insisting bureaucrats came forward on their own to oppose Bolton without prodding from Biden and his fellow obstructionists. They are bureaucrats, and Bolton is a threat to them and their anti-American inertia. That’s one of the main reasons the president appointed him.

The same holds true for many of the personal criticisms of Bolton. We find that much of it comes from bureaucrats who aren’t used to being upbraided for their own entrenched recalcitrance. It seems that a number of them got their feelings hurt because Bolton simply wouldn’t tolerate their insubordination.

Anti-Boltonites are saying Bolton cherry-picked intelligence to support his policy objectives. Well, they’ve been saying that about President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Rice and even Colin Powell for several years now. To them, cherry-picking intelligence is deciding to rely on the CIA and our other intelligence services, not to mention nearly unanimously similar opinions from foreign intelligence agencies that Iraq had WMD stockpiles. But most of these same Democrats, when it was expedient for them to do so, supported the decision to attack Iraq based on the exact same intelligence. Were they cherry-picking, too?

But another irony jumps off the pages concerning this latest charge about Bolton substituting his own judgment for that of intelligence people. Haven’t Democrats been saying since shortly after we attacked Iraq that President Bush should have done precisely that: ignored what his intelligence agencies were telling him about WMD? Indeed, aren’t Democrats demanding that in the future we question, even contradict, the assessments of our intelligence agencies? They can’t have it both ways? What am I saying? Of course they can.

The controversy over John Bolton’s appointment is just another assault by congressional Democrats on the president’s foreign policy and their determined effort to steer the ship of state in the direction of appeasement and globalism. How dare President Bush attempt to pursue his own foreign policy agenda? And how dare John Bolton be placed in a position to assist the president in implementing that agenda?