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July 20, 2006
Voinovich Has Another Mood Swing

Senator George Voinovich single-handedly derailed the confirmation of John Bolton to the post of UN ambassador, at one point crying on the floor of the Senate about the effect of Bolton's brand of diplomacy on his grandchildren. Grampa must have finally discovered that Bolton has no intentions of blowing up the world, and now very belatedly casts his support for Bolton's nomination:

My observations are that while Bolton is not perfect, he has demonstrated his ability, especially in recent months, to work with others and follow the president's lead by working multilaterally. In recent weeks I have watched him react to the challenges involving North Korea, Iran and now the Middle East, speaking on behalf of the United States.

I believe Bolton has been tempered and focused on speaking for the administration. He has referred regularly to "my instructions" from Washington, while also displaying his own clear and strong grasp of the issues and the way forward within the Security Council. He has stood many times side by side with his colleagues from Japan, Britain, Canada and other countries, showing a commitment to cooperation within the United Nations. ...

Ambassador Bolton's appointment expires this fall when the Senate officially recesses. Should the president choose to renominate him, I cannot imagine a worse message to send to the terrorists -- and to other nations deciding whether to engage in this effort -- than to drag out a possible renomination process or even replace the person our president has entrusted to lead our nation at the United Nations at a time when we are working on these historic objectives.

For me or my colleagues in the Senate to now question a possible renomination would jeopardize our influence in the United Nations and encourage those who oppose the United States to make Bolton the issue, thereby undermining our policies and agenda.

Should the president send his renomination to the Senate, I will vote to confirm him, and I call on my Democratic colleagues to keep in mind the current situation in the Middle East and the rest of the world should the Senate have an opportunity to vote. I do not believe the United States, at this dangerous time, can afford to have a U.N. ambassador who does not have Congress's full support.

The situation was no less dangerous in 2005, and yet George sobbed about the appointment of a man who might get hard-nosed about UN reform. Now he wants Bush to reopen the debate because of the danger of having Bolton at Turtle Bay without the "full support" of Congress. What changed? Bolton and world events proved Voinovich to have been spectacularly wrong, and now he wants a do-over to help everyone forget about his role in kneecapping Bolton's confirmation.

And George can forget about Congress giving Bolton its "full support", especially not in an election year. They will latch onto it now as they did then as a proxy punching bag for Bush's foreign policy. The best time to have called for a confirmation vote was between election cycles, and George gave political cover for those who wanted to hold a non-lifetime appointment hostage to petty electoral concerns.

Bush should renominate Bolton now anyway, regardless of Voinovich's mood swings. Congress can make themselves look like idiots again by defending the United Nations and excoriating those who demand reform of the corrupt and incompetent bureaucracy at Turtle Bay, the kind that continues to produce embarrassments like chronic child rape and persistent prostitution. Then they can go home and explain to their constituents why they batter the one man who has proven himself a worthy successor to Jeanne Kirkpatrick in standing up to the kleptocrats and the dictators.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 20, 2006 9:19 AM

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