Chestertown Friday: Thoughts on John Bolton


bolton refocusing.jpg
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


14 comments on “Chestertown Friday: Thoughts on John Bolton

  1. John says:

    That said, it’s a beautiful place and means the world to me, and I have many old and dear friends still living there.
    But have you ever heard the song I quoted at the end? Get a bunch of Sho’men drunk and you sure will. 🙂 Vonnie’s, if it’s still there, is the real Eastern Shore…


  2. John says:

    I lived in Chestertown for 25 years, way back before it was ruined, before wealthy carpetbaggers from D.C. “discovered” the place so they can buy corn at the farmers’ market and think they’re living in the country. My wife was back for a visit last June and found a little nothing house on a slum street that used to sell for around 40 grand now costs $375K. Morons… I was there when the White Swan Tavern was a REAL colonial tavern, before it and the whole damn town was boutiqued up the ass. My family’s names are on half a dozen tombstones in the local cemetery. Hell Steve, go find out what happened to all the black folks on Cannon Street, or the ones who used to live behind the Old Wharf. It ain’t pretty.
    Do you know they burned a Freedom Riders’ bus in Chestertown??
    Most of the kids at Washington College drive better cars than the professors. You know what that means. Hell, Karl Rove gave a talk there recently.
    Sorry, your post is supposed to be about Bolton. He’d fit in perfectly in C’town, though. “We don’t give a damn about the whole state of Maryland, we’re from the Eastern Shore…”


  3. MNPundit says:

    He’s a student and doesn’t know what a blog is?
    Some people really don’t deserve to be legacy admissions.


  4. Pissed Off American says:

    Gads, even before I have my coffee, I find Morrow attesting to speak for me as an American. Does anyone here REALLY want this guy putting words in their mouth?
    Hey Morrow, how about you pick up an M-16, swim to Iraq, and speak for the lying piece of crap Bush instead?
    It is my believe that “most Americans” have an honest desire to see the UN’s purpose fullfilled and utilized. And “most Americans” know that such a end will not come about by the actions of these bastards like Bush, Cheney, or Bolton.


  5. Robert Morrow says:

    Boy do I LOVE Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond – except for that old timey racist, segregationist stuff. Other than that, what a wonderful pair of patriotic, nationalist Americans. Our country has done more for the GOOD of the world than any other country in the History of mankind.
    We have a wonderful place to live, compare us with all those benighted, scary dumps around the world. Hey, what is so “modern” or “Enlightened” about the United Nations madhouse or internationalism? I’m not seeing a lot of enlightened democracies out there or a lot of respect in the world for human rights.
    Note to Steve: Americans don’t love or respect the UN. Why is that? Because we are AMERICANS. The attitude of Americans towards the UN ranges from indifference to hate. Actually, Barbara Boxer is 5 standard deviations from the mean of American attitudes, as she dials in with “love.” But that’s about it.


  6. Zathras says:

    When Steve has a moment, I wonder if he’d mind posting a list of what he considers to be Sen. Frist’s achievements as Majority Leader. I don’t think it would take more than a moment, but Steve is the Washington insider, and as he made reference to Sen. Frist’s “achievements and stumbles” I feel sure he had in mind a few of the former.


  7. grascarp says:

    Earlier this month, the NYT ran an article on of Sen. Frist who is often mentioned as a possible candidate in the 2008 race for the Presidency. The article included a photo of the senator’s Nashville Georgia Revival house which “residents agree, has taken on a distinct White House look”. It’s worth a visit to google to see the house if you ever suspected there are Freudian fractures at work in the minds of some political bigshots.


  8. ET says:

    These photos of Boltonstein — yikes.


  9. Pissed Off American says:

    Frist should have his medical license suspended for his repeated, unprofessional diagnoses without examinations, all outside his specialization.
    Posted by Marky
    But Marky, those weren’t “unprofessional diagnoses without examinations”, they were very proffessional political posturings. Its not the hypocratic oath he violated, it was the oath of office that was truly shat upon.


  10. Marky says:

    Frist should have his medical license suspended for his repeated, unprofessional diagnoses without examinations, all outside his specialization.


  11. Steve Clemons says:

    David — touche on Schiavo. Neglected that bit of history which was a mistake on my part.
    best, steve


  12. DonS says:

    I endorse the sentiment that the massive screwups, sellouts aand collaborations of the past, say, 6 years for starters, MUST be exposed, acknowledged, hashed and rehashed. If there is no recognition and expiation that there are consequences for actions and inactions, we truly live in a world, and a political system, where memory is erasable.
    That’s a road that accumulates more traffic, because its easy. Those who eschew examination of past behavior, even in “good faith” (shallow reasoning IMO), are setting bad precedent. Few in this generation are ever going to want to look back.
    There is so much blame to go around in this watershed period that to ignore the depth and breadth of complicit behavior, in effect, creates a cabal of silence and ignorance that encompasses virtually everyone in power. Neat trick: if we all agree to ignore the cowardice and stupidity, it doesn’t exist. In fact,isn’t that how we got here. Noone stood up. So who’s gonna point a finger where it really needs to be pointed. You can probably count on one hand those who aren’t complicit.
    If honor and accountability aren’t demanded we might as well kiss off the prospects for honest government. Those in power, by definition, are the only ones capable of holding themselves and each other to account.


  13. David N says:

    How in the world can you call Frist a rational man of science after his performance in the Terry Schiavo nonsense, and his statements on This Week that HIV is transmitted through sweat and tears?
    But, as a former officer in USIA, I really appreciated your description of Jesse Helms. Again, though, Helms could not have destroyed the public face of the U.S. internationally without the collusion of SecState Albright.


  14. Pissed Off America says:

    Meanwhile, lets just ignore the fact that these lying treasonous bastards just LIED THEIR ASSES OFF to engage our nation in war, to torture people in America’s name, to wipe their asses with our constitution, to suspend Habeas Corpus, to throw science out the window, to abandon an American city and its inhabitants, and much much more.
    Yep, in Bushworld, no one is held accountable, and the Washington insiders, the pundits, the media and the so called progressive bloggers just keep selling us the same political horseshit, day in and day out. Never looking backwards at yesterday’s lies, never screaming for accountability, always marketing the same old business as usual Washington that MOST Americans have come to distrust and loathe.
    Have a drink on America, Steve. We’re buyin’. Whether we want to or not.


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