Al Gonzales had La Raza.
But I’ve been scratching my head wondering who would be pushing Bolton so hard — other than, of course, Dick Cheney, and many other Jesse Helms staffers who want to help the former Senator’s ghost continue to harrass the United Nations as he did in office.
The fact is that there is no constituency of consequence pushing Bolton. It’s a cynical appointment. Condi Rice did not want him at all but settled on letting him on State’s payroll if he worked and resided a three hour Amtrak ride away.
His champion besides Cheney appears to be Henry Hyde, who is apparently retiring.
This from a Chicago Sun-Times piece today:
Hyde is making United Nations reform and accountability a priority this year and had a behind-the-scenes role in promoting John Bolton to become the new U.N. ambassador, appointed by President Bush last week.
To make sure U.N. critic Bolton got the nomination, Hyde made calls to White House chief of staff Andy Card for Bolton and is pushing his Senate counterpart, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to swiftly confirm Bolton, who is in the cross hairs of the Democrats.
Today, Hyde presides over a full committee hearing on the challenges of reforming the United Nations. The witness panel features three former U.N. ambassadors: Madeleine Albright, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Richard Holbrooke as well as Richard Williamson, who returned to his Chicago law practice after serving as the U.S. alternative representative to the United Nations for special political affairs.
Note to Senator Chafee: if there is no constituency supporting Bolton, there is less to fear. As a Republican in a blue state, you have to be selective when you stand with the President and when you vote against him. Of course, principles should guide all of your decisions — but you and we know that some votes matter more than others.
Bolton’s nomination seems casual and pursued by a few people you can afford to frustrate.
Jesse Helms’ ghost may have a problem if you oppose Bolton — so might the retiring Henry Hyde. Dick Cheney is a more serious problem — but frankly, i think your reelection would be assured if you could get Cheney to yell some cuss word at you on the floor of the Senate — but it need not go that far.
Democrats killed Bill Clinton’s requested “Fast Track” trade legislation not because they really hated trade but because it was a vote that not that many cared about — and which could be used to push back the President after the damage done to the Democratic Party from welfare reform.
Voting against John Bolton’s nomination is that same sort of vote — one where a Senator can stand by principles of grand GOP style committed to pursuing American interests via global leadership — and help President Bush secure a better nominee.
This is a battle that the Bush team can afford to lose because there is NO CONSTITUENCY BEHIND BOLTON.
More later. . .
— Steve Clemons