Senator Chafee, When Do Anecdotes about John Bolton Become Data?


According to this report by Barry Schweid, Lincoln Chafee still intends to vote to confirm John Bolton.
Dafna Linzer and Charles Babington of the Washington Post report this from Chafee:

“It was strong testimony from Mr. Ford. He used strong language,” Chafee said. But “it’s all focused on this one incident. We’re not really seeing a pattern.”

Senator Chafee, you opened the line of questioning that went beyond the anecdotes about Carl Ford and Christian Westermann.
You asked about whether Bolton thought that he represented administration policy on North Korea — or Jack Pritchard. Bolton replied to you that Pritchard resigned because he was not comfortable with Bush administration policy on North Korea and that he was at odds with the Bush administration.
YOU opened the most important commentary in these hearings on Bolton’s “loose cannon” and “lone ranger” tendencies. Bolton was at odds with the Bush administration’s policy — as articulated by both President Bush and Secretary Powell. You should be taking credit for this — and delving further into the matter.
You say there is no evident pattern?! You actually provided the material that makes the pattern clear. Bolton not only challenged Westermann and Ford, but also Pritchard — clearly a more senior guy in the establishment — but this battle was about “policy,” not just about management style — and Bolton’s purposeful recklessness and his desire to wreck the Six Party Talks process undermined U.S. national interests and security.
You are not simple-minded. Think this through. Read the dossier. Call Jack Pritchard. Call Richard Armitage. Call Brent Scowcroft.
Remember that Scowcroft said this the other day about Bolton:

How (Bolton) performs will depend on two things — the instructions he gets — and whether will carry them out. (laughter)

What has Dick Cheney threatened you with if you follow your conscience on this and vote against someone you know not to be the “balanced” person you have been promised he would be?
Cheney does not control all U.S. foreign policy — no matter what he may have conveyed to you. And Condi Rice and Bob Zoellick will continue to need you and your support — just as President Bush will. You are being led by ‘one faction’ within the Republican foreign policy establishment to believe that your vote in this case will protect you from them.
It won’t. There is a battle within the Republican establishment over the direction and conduct of U.S. foreign policy — and Bolton empowers the worst face of our foreign policy rather than putting forward a more constructive and competent, solutions-oriented face.
You need to get your grounding on this fast, Senator Chafee. And I dare say that after the Kofi Annan comment you made, you have undermined much of the credibility you should have had regarding this vote — even if you supported John Bolton in the end. But now it seems that you are purposely neglecting and avoiding empirical reality that YOU yourself helped to open up about his “fitness” for this important job.
— Steve Clemons