Valerie Plame Affair Crippling White House Legislative Strategy — Especially Bolton


TWN is hearing two divergent lines on Bolton.
The first is that Bolton wants and will get a recess appointment in August. They argue that the legislative fight to get him confirmed is over.
This makes some sense because rumors are flying that Bush’s preferred successor to fill Sandra Day O’Connor’s position will come around the week of July 25th — and I’d guess that the White House would leak the name around the 21st or 22nd of July so as to lobby on the weekend news shows. That will suck the air out of any other business.
Secondly, some folks argue that Bolton’s nomination is dead and that either Bolton or Cheney, on his behalf, are trying to keep him alive via discussion of a recess appointment. But that the long knives inside the administration — from intelligence circles, from the NSC, and also within the State Department itself — are trying to cut Bolton off and send him to float elsewhere.
Bolton’s reported efforts to double the size of the Washington-based support team for the U.S. mission to the United Nations may be inappropriate, perhaps illegal, since he does not yet “encumber” this job. Reportedly, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has not given any support to Bolton’s efforts to fluff up his D.C.-based bed.
Perhaps Secretary Rice did not realize that “supervising” Bolton would begin even before he was confirmed or had received his recess appointment.
The best news about the new revelations about Karl Rove’s role in outing Valerie Plame Wilson’s CIA role is that it occupies his time and attention. He has been miscalculating on Bolton for some time now — and the Fitzgerald investigation — can only harm the White House efforts to install this disagreeable candidate as America’s UN Ambassador.
There are many better candidates whom Americans — on the left and the right — could support and feel proud of during the trying year ahead on UN reform issues and challenging Security Council actions likely on Iran, North Korea, and other hot spots.
Knocking back the Bolton nomination remains an extremely high priority among those who have fought this nomination — and the reality is that appointing Bolton and getting him confirmed have become a lower-level priority for those advocating him.
— Steve Clemons