Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, Lawrence Wilkerson had this to say about John Bolton in an interview with the New York Times:
“Under Secretary Bolton was never the formidable power that people are insinuating he was in terms of foreign policy, or blocking the policies that Secretary Powell wished to pursue,” Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Mr. Powell’s chief of staff, said in a telephone interview.
“But do I think John Bolton would make a good ambassador to the United Nations? Absolutely not,” Mr. Wilkerson said. “He is incapable of listening to people and taking into account their views. He would be an abysmal ambassador.”
Today may be the day of the John Bolton Showdown.
Democrats have sought a delay in the vote as Senators Joseph Biden and Chris Dodd want more time to interview Bolton victims, to read NSA intercepts, and to more fully understand John Bolton’s “sink Powell’s foreign policy” activities on Iran, Cuba, and North Korea.
Apparently, Senator Lugar has denied their request and is calling a “business meeting” of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 2:15 p.m. The Bolton vote would take place during this meeting, unless something intervenes.
Senator Dodd may place a hold on Mr. Bolton because of his concern that the U.S. Senate has not been given all responses to questions he has posed — and that would force a further delay, but Dodd is not yet committing to that course of action.
Furthermore, Senators Hagel and Chafee have not given any further indication as to whether their tolerance level of John Bolton’s disturbing record and divisive candidacy has surpassed what they can ethically vote to confirm. They each indicated a tilt towards Bolton before the most recent set of revelations and before the accusations yesterday that John Bolton’s power aggrandizement actually resulted in him keeping Secretaries Powell and Rice as well as Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage in the dark over important national security policy issues.
This battle in the Committee is indicative of the Bush administration’s obsession with winning — what matters is not the policy or the appropriateness of Bush’s decision, but winning. Hopefully, moderate Republicans or other conservatives on the Committee who have paid attention to the evidence that has built up against his nomination will support the interests of the nation and tell President Bush that sometimes he makes mistakes: John Bolton is one of them.
— Steve Clemons