A Meeting of State Department & Adminisration Principals to Decide Bolton Strategy This Week


A highly placed State Department official has conveyed to TWN that this is “decision week” on the Bolton nomination.
According to the source, “State Department and Administration principals will be deciding stategy — recess appointment or a further vote(s).”
Note that there was no mention of withdrawal.
While many progressives are not pleased by her, if I were a White House strategist, Paula Dobriansky who is now Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, would quickly put this Bolton turmoil to rest if they withdrew him and proposed her.
Other great candidates this blog has proposed include former Congressman Amo Houghton, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, Deputy Treasury Secretary nominee and former Ambassador to Germany Robert Kimmitt, international lawyer and philanthropist Rita Hauser, and others.
But if they want to try another vote, let them try.
The two hard-edged realities that complicate this however are first, the implication of Karl Rove in the Valerie Plame leak. At minimum, Rove will be hugely distracted by this — and the President will be besieged by those wanting to know whether or not he knew that Rove did convey — knowingly or unknowingly — classified information.
To put it simply, the importance of the Rove-Matt Cooper link will be “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”
Secondly, the brewing battle over appointing a successor to Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court will eat up time and attention. Frist and other Republican leaders will argue that enough blood has been spilt and influence lost on the Bolton battle — so keep him off the floor.
But what has marked this Cheney-Rove campaign for Bolton from the beginning has been miscalculation, so it is tough to figure whether those making decisions are plotting a rational road map.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons