There are some TWN readers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, despite the comments of one student I met recently at the colonial era college, Washington College, who first asked “What’s a blog?” after a lecture I gave there. After I responded, he said, “I don’t think we have blogs on the Eastern shore.”
Nice guy actually, but he’s wrong. There are bloggers out here — and today, Mark Schmitt of The Decembrist is allegedly in Chestertown too, though not here at the premier town coffee shop, “Play it Again Sam.”
Here’s some news. John Bolton cancels an appearance he had planned today at Syracuse University. Maybe he know I had a few questions planted in the audience about how far he was willing to be used in the evolving battle over his UN appointment as a measure of faux bipartisanship.
The Bolton Battle has achieved “high art form status” at this point.
He will never be confirmed by the Senate. But outgoing Senate Majority Leader and presidential hopeful Bill Frist hopes to make some points with America’s pugnacious nationalist voters by crowing from the Senate floor how outraged he is that Bolton won’t be confirmed by Democrats with an assist from some Republicans, particularly Senator Lincoln Chafee. (actually Frist won’t mention the anti-Bolton Republicans; he’ll be going after Dems full board).
But let me remind Bill Frist of what just happened to incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. She got measured by both her decision to support John Murtha as Democratic Party Leader and then her failure to deliver him.
Frist’s zealous support of John Bolton with no obvious means of getting him through the Senate simply punctuates his impotence — even in a chamber that he and his party controlled. If Frist makes Bolton the parting shot of his time in the Senate — rather than delivering successes and achievements — Frist’s portfolio (political rather than stocks, in this case) will seriously deteriorate.
Just something for Bill Frist and his close national security aide, Stephen Rademaker — also a former close aide of John Bolton — to consider before orchestrating yet another chapter in John Bolton’s confirmation battle.
Frist is a man of science, a rationalist, from the South. Pushing Bolton at this point doesn’t square with Frist’s long record of rationalism as a way forward. Rather, it’s a play for those who revere Jesse Helms — one of the most anti-international, anti-modern, anti-Enlightenment senators to serve in the modern age.
I’m not sure where the investigation into his alleged manipulation of stocks and other investments in a blind trust stands, but Frist will be leaving the Senate with a roster of both achievements and stumbles. There has been no news on the matter for a very long time — so I imagine that the case has either been closed or is inactive. HCA stockholders just got a nice 18% jump in their stock shares last week when their company was sold — so all’s well that ends well for the Frist family.
Why add John Bolton to the stumble list?
But if Frist thinks he really does want to take a run at the presidency — which I think he does — then he needs to give Americans a snapshot of constructive, principled political and policy achievements. He can do a lot in the next couple of weeks pushing spending bills through that need to be addressed and usher forward more support for those Americans wounded and families harmed by the loss of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Do good stuff, Senator Frist. Leave the politically outrageous acts for others.
— Steve Clemons