Credit should be given where credit is due. It is not often when a politician — especially a Republican — especially a House Republican — goes against his party and acts on his conscience. I’m still skeptical about the likelihood that Bolton’s nomination can be stopped, but it sure is nice to see a guy like Voinovich (R-OH) have the backbone to put the brakes on the process until (at a minimum) all the facts about Bolton are fully vetted.
Publius, who (thankfully) has more time to write lately than I do, is completely correct:
John Bolton is, by any objective measure, a horrid choice. Even if you hate the UN with every fiber of your being – even if your genetic sequence of A-G-C-T nucleotides consists of variations of the letters N-E-O-C-O-N – Bolton remains an absolutely dreadful choice. He treats subordinates like scum – he screams at them. He fires them for not agreeing with him. He spies on them. He withholds national security information from his superiors in government.
The fact that you hate the UN should not blind you to the systematic pattern of intolerance, abuse, recklessness, and lack of basic human decency. The man is scum.
And this is who we want to be our representative to the world? John Bolton? In a time when our troops are dying because we can’t persuade people to help us – in a time where world hatred of us has never been higher – do we really want to send a universally reviled asshole who has a history of enraging everyone he comes into contact with to be our public face to humanity?
What makes it all so ridiculous is that, given his history, there isn’t any objective reason to support him other than party loyalty or the hope of getting something in return from the administration. Hagel and Lugar and Chaffee are all decent people, but they sat there like spineless cowards and would have voted for that scumbag knowing full and well that he was not only a horrible choice, but a liability to our foreign policy goals – goals that affect our national security and the safety of our own troops.
I could go on, but I want to get back to Voinovich. I suspect that voters in Ohio wouldn’t have cared one way or the other how he voted. I also suspect the Democrats didn’t have much to offer him in return. He also knew the wrath he would face – and is apparently already facing – because of his decision. But Voinovich – for now anyway – put the public good of America first. I can’t think of any other reason why he would delay the vote (which will probably kill the nomination) other than his conscience. Maybe something will turn up, and I’ll have to rethink all this. But for now, it looks like someone put the public good before party loyalty.
So thank you Senator Voinovich – you restored my faith in our political process – at least for a few hours.[UPDATE: NYT – Voinovich, "My conscience got me." Sleep tight Sen. Chaffee.]
For those of you who are on the fence about Bolton, ask yourself this: Is this the best guy that Bush could come up with for the job as a diplomat? And if not, shouldn’t we have the best guy possible in that position?