The Corner

Honestly Puzzled on Bolton

 So the word is that U.N. Ambassador John Bolton will not be confirmed by the new Senate, or by the lame-duck Senate, or any Senate, after his recess appointment to the United Nations. Here’s the thing: At this point, Democrats have had a year to judge Bolton’s performance at the U.N. What on earth could they object to in his continuation there? He has, as far as I can tell, been by any reckoning, an ideal ambassador. He has not sought to make policy but rather to implement policy there — and, again as far as I can tell, he has done so with grace and dignity and has not been a lightning rod. There are no reports of him bullying staff or being mean to subordinates or any of the stuff that helped them block his first vote. It strikes me that the decision to deny him an up-or-down vote yet again is a demonstration only that Democrats haven’t made the transition to true majority status. One way or another, there’s going to be a U.N. ambassador, and one way or another, that U.N. ambassador is not going to be a liberal democrat. Even from their vantage point, given the record thus far, Bolton is about as good as they themselves can get.

No need to e-mail me about how they’re all liberals and they hate conservatives and they want to punish Bushites and all that. I get all that. I’m saying something else, which is that they can’t spend the next two years denying every Bush appointee a vote — and that punishing Bolton when he has done what his critics said they could not believe he would do doesn’t make sense. 

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