President Bush should be asking the question of who on his team let the Battle over John Bolton escalate into a proxy battle over White House influence.
This should be about bigger issues. In fact, Senator Voinovich framed this debate brilliantly and eloquently. Whether Voinovich supported or opposed Bolton after the kind of preamble he gave would have been ok because he got back to the issues that mattered.
The White House obsession with winning at all costs looks petty and cynical after the oration Voinovich gave.
I think that the White House has been stung badly — but it stung itself. Triumphalism, arrogance, and disregard for the interest of the public in improving America’s foreign policy condition — something President Bush himself committed to during his trip to Europe but undid with the Bolton nomination — led the White House to this point.
Throughout the media — which seemed so sure that the Bolton Battle had been won by the White House this weekend — stories now abound that Bolton’s nomination is in deep jeapordy.
Here is the latest from the BBC (TWN is mentioned in the full piece):
If there is one thing US pundits are agreed on it is that the row over John Bolton’s nomination as America’s man at the UN is only going to get worse as the saga rolls on.
The decision over President George Bush’s nominee was passed to the full Senate on Thursday, but without positive backing and with a key Republican senator adamant Mr Bolton was the wrong man for the job.
“This is going to get very nasty and very poisonous as both sides are very dug into their positions,” NBC’s Tim Russert asserted, moments after the committee vote.
“His [Sen George Voinovich’s] speech is going to be quoted by every Democratic opponent.”
CNN’s man at the White House, Ed Henry, described the outcome as a “blow to President Bush”.
“The White House wanted a positive recommendation,” he said. “But it is a blow that Voinovich came out hard against the nomination.
“That was bad enough, but the fact that a Republican-led committee could not get this through with a positive recommendation is not what the White House would have wanted.”
This is a great battle to be waging.
There are vested interests around who exploit fear, who believe in bullying allies all the time, who confuse bluster and table-pounding with effectiveness.
Paula Dobriansky vs. John Bolton: The choice seems easy.
— Steve Clemons