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April 21, 2005


If we, as a people, start to think that the momentary satisfactions of 'raising an ideological middle finger to the rest of the world' are more important than appointing someone who can consistently advance our national interests, then we are in deep, deep trouble.

Look Hilzoy; you can't just keep complaining about the fact that Bush won the election. The Democrats lost, get over it.

The Democrats lost, get over it.

Personally, I plan to get over it in 2008.

"If we, as a people, start to think that the momentary satisfactions of 'raising an ideological middle finger to the rest of the world' are more important than appointing someone who can consistently advance our national interests, then we are in deep, deep trouble.

Look Hilzoy; you can't just keep complaining about the fact that Bush won the election. The Democrats lost, get over it."

Please provide examples of Preisdent Bush, Vice Preisdent Cheney, or any of their surrogates stating on the campaign trail that they felt that insulting the remainder of the world was more important than working in national self-interest. Pretty please.

Hilzoy's point is good, as her points always are.

I always presume the administrations knows more about its plans than I do. As opposed some things Charles for instance has said, Bolton may not be the appointee for purposes of reform and reconstruction at the UN, but as preparation for situations the administration understands may arise in the next year, like an US mission against Iraq or a Chinese attack on Iran. No, I don't know these are or might happen, but that is the point. I can't know why they chose Bolton unless I know everything they know. But rather than look to the past for explanations, I simply assume he has a role in their expected future.

Dantheman- I suspect that you don't really want me to come up with actual examples; so I won't exert myself, but the way W mocked John Kerry's plan for returning to PAYGO is in fact a good example as was the war in Iraq.

In the former case Bush in essense says to the rest of the world: You will heve to continue to buy our worthless IOUs forever, or face the destruction of the global economic system. The idea that we will pay our debts; laughable.


I think you are assuming something I haven't said, but I want those examples because I think they should be drilled into the American public's heads to show how @#$%^&'d up the people who run our government are.

That aside, I don't think your example is too good. The Administration in that case probably does believe preventing the return of PAYGO is a good thing for the country. I guess fiscal isn't a type of conservatism that our President is in favor of.

Dantheman- I think you are incredibly naive if you think the policies that Bush espouses, particularly during campaigns, have anything to do with what they think is good for the country. Bush claims to be fiscaly conservative, he claims to have a plan to cut the deficit, while at the same time calling US treasury notes 'worthless IOUs'

Greenspan just came out in favor of bringing back PAYGO. It would have been interesting if he had done so during the campaign. Funny, during the run up to the 2000 elections he was "concerned" that we were paying down the deficit "too fast."

I wish I could remember better examples, but while Bush is careful about what he says (or his speachwriters are.) the attitude of contempt that permeates his (and his supporters) feelings about the rest of the world is utterly clear. (oh yeah there was the fact that the administration wouldn't let Italian investigators look at the evidence (car) in a murder investigation of an Italian national, so much for transparent, accountable government.)


gah. yeah.

thanks for remending me.

reminding, even.

though 'remending' is a good word, and would make sense if i was twice-broken rag-doll.


Aaah. The ever-articulate Katherine!

"Look Hilzoy; you can't just keep complaining about the fact that Bush won the election. The Democrats lost, get over it."

Posted by: Frank

Tell ya what - sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander. I promise to get over Bush when republicans get over Clinton. And that's giving Republicans quite a bit of slack on the deal.

It's remarkable that a fine human being like Trevino, who is an eloquent, humanitarian guy, can be such an ideological punk sometimes.

I was almost convinced that he was my better.

The Redstate post fascinating in that it precisely parallels Mark Schmitt's point about Hayek and conservatives, as I thought that the purpose of Redstate was to provide a forum to show the diversity of conservative thought. I hope Von didn't have his hopes set on posting there.

What, Holsclaw and Doverspa aren't enough?

What, Holsclaw and Doverspa aren't enough?

I'm obviously not a close reader of Redstate, but I was struck by your closing line "know for now that RedState is taking a stand." Not wanting to get into the sausage making process (nor to demand private communication that you shouldn't be asked for), I have to assume that there was some polling of the Redstate braintrust and the defense of Bolton was decided to be a point set in stone. If I missed something that explained that, my apologies.

(also, if this is dealt with in the comments, my apologies for not finding it, though I did note that von has posted in there. I have a hard time following scoop comments)

Also, of potential interest is the WaPo's latest about Powell's contacts with Hagel and Chafee.

I salute Tac for maintaining his usual standards of intellectual rigor, and for making the nature of the positive case to be made for Bolton's appointment clear.

Is that hilzoy going all bitter n snarky?

Careful, Hilzoy, or Hilzoy might bring down posting rules on you. She has in the past, although not yet on you, Hilzoy.

On a substantive note, doubtless your "standards of intellectual rigor" clued you in that the post was explicitly a prelude of more to come. In short words: sit and wait -- it will come.

"In short words: sit and wait -- it will come."

Oh, wow! It's going to be so awesome!

prak, was that you I just saw logging hours outside the Chinese theater waiting for SWIII? You looked stoked.

"post was explicitly a prelude of more to come"

I hope this won't be reform and democratization stuff. We all know Bolton's particular skillset: bullying, abuse, contempt, intimidation, browbeating in service of deception and propaganda.

This is not a sinecure, a reward for past service; nor does it involve reforming UNICEF and human rights subcommittees. They are sending a thug to the UN because they know thuggish reaction will become necessary. I suspect when there is an uproar over pre-emptive action against Iran this summer, Bolton will be the man to tell the diplomats to STFU and remember who is boss.

Just as Bush is using Bolton to gently show Republican Senators their proper position as servants to the Presidency. Who the heck does Voinovich think he is?

We all know Bolton's particular skillset....

Certainly you know the online left's received wisdom on the subject.

Ah yes, the famous monolithic "online left". An expression only slightly less accurate than the "VRWC".

Are you trying to be rude to everyone who disagrees with you or does it just come naturally?

Come now, Francis. Let's not pretend there's any significant diversity of opinion amongst left wingers who use the internet (better?) on this subject.

"Are you trying to be rude to everyone who disagrees with you or does it just come naturally?"

A delve into the archives answers that question robustly.

Tacitus is an odd bird. He obviously feels not the slightest goodwill towards anyone who disagrees with him (who are naturally 'obsessive' in that they aren't copacetic) and rather fills entire threads with otherwise contentless contributions of venomous contempt. And yet he engages in this unsatisfying behavior kind of regularly, suggesting he gets something out of it. I have no idea what that could possibly be.

I know, I'm talking about you like you're not here. It's cruel.

No, it's quite all right; though if cruelty suits your purpose, by all means perceive it. The phenomenon in question is something peculiar to this site, really (and to a lesser extent, dKos): lots of people here are folks I banned, for whatever reason, from tacitus.org or RS, and they have longstanding grudges. The contretemps that arise are aided inevitably by the shaky moderation -- and where did Hilzoy go, anyway? -- which has its own definite skew.

Oh, but look -- my presence has hijacked a thread again. Again, because (drumroll, please), the obsessives can't talk about anything but me when I'm around.

Shall we discuss John Bolton?

F/BRGoRD and sidereal,

Since Tacitus was not the first commentator on this thread to be rude, I'm curious to why you feel compelled to single him out? Why aren't you thread nannying Hilzoy?

Shall we discuss John Bolton?

Having reviewed your contibutions to the thread, may I politely say, after you.

Some questions answer themselves, eh?

because she's a host here? because her track record of viciousness isn't closely comparable? because the blogger at issue has an unpleasantly Coulterish habit of saying really rude things then accusing those who call him on it of being thin skinned?

"Certainly you know the online left's received wisdom on the subject"

I hate this piling on stuff. The point was directed at me, saying I was reasonably well-informed on the left blogosphere opinion of Bolton, and implying that perhaps I could be educated by broader research. The point was correct, and not particularly insulting.

"received wisdom" how many of the liberal commenters here can give me a digest of Bolton's career without googling? I am pretty sure Bolton was a staffer for Jessie Helms, and Helms was a force on the foreign relations committee for many years.

"the obsessives"

Well, it's like trying to carry on a conversation with someone who keeps shining a flashlight in your eyes. You'd like to stay on topic, but eventually you have to bring it up.

"Since Tacitus was not the first commentator on this thread to be rude, I'm curious to why you feel compelled to single him out?"

That's a good question. First, probably because he was rude to me (by implication)which always gets attention. I honestly make an effort to see it the other way, but it's not instinctive. Second, I think it's fair to point out that his recent rude/unrude comment ratio is significantly higher than anyone else involved. Rasheed always gets the first T, as it were (not to imply that I am in any position to give out T's other than in my own head).

On Bolton:
he seems fine to me, in that he's roughly typical of the sort of bureaucrat that Bush is endorsing (Negroponte, for pete's sake?), and presenting anything less than that face to the world would be dishonest. This is what we have for a Presidential administration. May as well show it off.

Francis, I believe the answer you're searching for is, "I'm a hypocrite." Hey, I show favoritism to my side too. No worries.

Okay folks, enjoy the thread. I think Bob raises some good points above -- have at it.


Thanks for the honest answer. I must tell you I was quite surprised to you see you jump on that as I expect better of you (are my expectations off?) As a general rule I don't think it's fair to jump on someone for what one thinks one remembers was said on some long past thread. If we decide to prejudice our reading based on past comments, there's really no point reading any of this tripe is there?

My bet is that Charles Bird has done this resume stuff somewhere below.

"John R. Bolton was sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security on May 11, 2001.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Bolton was Senior Vice President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). AEI is a nonprofit public policy center dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of freedom through research education, and open debate.

Mr. Bolton has spent many years of his career in public service. Previous positions he has held are Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs at the Department of State, 1989-1993; Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, 1985-1989; Assistant Administrator for Program and Policy Coordination, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1982-1983; General Counsel, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1981-1982.

Mr. Bolton is also an attorney. From 1974-1981 he was an associate at the Washington office of Covington & Burling, where he returned as a member of the firm from 1983-1985, after public service at the U.S. Agency for International Development. From 1993 through 1999, he was a partner in the law firm of Lerner, Reed, Bolton & McManus.

Under Secretary Bolton was born in Baltimore on November 20, 1948. He graduated with a B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale University and received his J.D. from Yale Law School."

You never can tell what is done at the law firms, note another of we omnipresent McManus'. But Bolton appears to have had a lot of hands-on experience in international development and international organizations. Since I have been told he hates them things, something is in error.

I'm not aware of his work on Helm's staff. I do know (without Googling) that he worked in USAID and then Justice under Meese where, amongst other duties, he was one of many who obstructed inquiries into the Iran-Contra affair (this hardly singles him out for opprobrium given the company he was keeping). At some point around this time, he tried to move to a more lucrative job on K Street, but (according to Legal Times) he was unable to secure employment. As they described it, the lobbying firms felt that he was unsuited to the task. For a bit more from that journal, and here I will Google to be accurate:

Legal Times, March 7, 1988
Bolton Moves Up Justice Ladder; Lobbying Plans Frustrated, Official to Take Charge of Civil Branch
By Aaron Freiwald

. . .In late 1986, Bolton was the key administration representative during the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Bolton was heavily criticized for invoking executive privilege and for steadfastly refusing to release documents relating to Rehnquist's tenure at the Justice Dept in the 1970s. More recently, Bolton was an ever-present handler during US Circuit Judge Robert Bork's explosive and unsuccessful nomination to the Supreme Court.

In addition to his work on judicial nominations, Bolton has often gone to the front lines for the department's legislative agenda. He has been one of the administration's most vocal critics of the independent-counsel law. At a press conference last June, Bolton vigorously challenged the law's constitutionality in tones the White House later described as "intemperate."

Bolton was also one of the Justice Department's key legal advisers during last year's Iran-Contra hearings. Bolton accompanied several top department officials in depositions before the House committee, including Meese and Charles Cooper, assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. The committee has criticized the department - and thereby Bolton and his staff - for stonewalling efforts to obtain relevant documents during his investigation.

which is to say, his reputation certainly precedes him.

Tac, we're all hypocrites on some issues; there's still no reason to be rude, if for no other reason than it's an effective threadjack. Witness the foregoing.

Most people who post here regularly try to avoid referring to their political opposition collectively. Not only is doing so polite, such conduct does not impute certain beliefs to those who do not hold them.

Bob, the only knowledge I have of Bolton w/out google is that he was involved in negotiations with N.Korea that went, allegedly, so badly that the NK delegation refused to meet further so long as he was the US's representative. Whether I'm correct in this understanding awaits enlightenment by google or other posters here.

Where was I? Well, the phone rang, and then I wrote my snark post, but didn't check back here because, as I said, I regretted my remark, and then I was cleaning and watering the orchids and stuff, and then I wrote about chickenhawks, and so now I came back to read this again. Since you asked. -- I think I also did my email sometime in there, and played with the cats, and read part of a magazine.

"are my expectations off?"

Very likely! Lower them, post-haste. Honestly, I have a great deal of pent-up unhappiness about RedState that bursts out every once in a while. I think it's perfectly possible for there to be an intelligent, activist conservative site that engages conservative ideas in good faith and with goodwill, but RS went down the Kos-like bile and snark road, a fact which hacks me off more or less daily. If Erick came around I'd say mean things about him, too.

I'm not sure, but if you are suggesting that I was rude initially, I'm not sure how. I just thought it striking that Tacitus could say that 'Redstate' was taking a stand on this and that it seemed linked to the Mark Schmitt's observation made by Hilzoy. I certainly don't want to open up a DKos v. Redstate debate, but the model of Dkos (which is related to the model of Wikipedia and many of these other decentralized groups) derives its power from decentralization. Interestingly Yglesias is touting the coming Centralization Era and if I were the promiscuious blog commentor type, I might wade in, but I pretty much am a one-blog man for comments.

As for Bolton info, I have a vague feeling that Japanese don't think much of him. He had a number of dealings here in Japan, but seemed to always be postponing things because of one thing or the other. The japanese pressed him hard on a nuclear moratorium, and of course, he figured in the 6 way talks. That was quite interesting because it was asked if the US would be representing SK and Jpn views, and the answer was a pretty strong no. This press conference suggests that the Japanese don't put a lot of trust in Bolton

Q: Did Mrs. Kawaguchi and Mr. Bolton discuss documentation to draw out the security issue concerning North Korea?

Mr. Takashima: They have not discussed this. However, Undersecretary Bolton referred to the statement made by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to the Japanese press corps in Washington as a kind of general summary of US policy vis-à-vis North Korea.

I also think this is strongly indicative that Bolton was muzzled and was not permitted to say anything to the japanese about the North Korean situation.

(violins playing softly)

"Take John Bolton, the good man I nominated to represent our country at the United Nations," Mr. Bush said. "John's distinguished career in service to our nation demonstrates that he is the right man at the right time for this important assignment. I urge the Senate to put politics aside and confirm John Bolton to the United Nations."

Poor President Bush--our national forests are dangerously full of trees, uppity citizens keep trying to break into his citizens' meetings, people want their social security to be secure, our independent courts are dangerously full of independent judges, and now those rascally Democrats are corrupting the U.S. Senate with politics.

I'm not sure, but if you are suggesting that I was rude initially, I'm not sure how.

Goodness no. I have no idea how you could get that impression. Sorry if I wasn't clear lj.

If we decide to prejudice our reading based on past comments, there's really no point reading any of this tripe is there?

You're joking, right? We all "prejudice our reading based on past comments" all the time. And I suspect you don't really want to argue that we shouldn't.

Thanks mac, I was just worried since my post was the first that mentioned Redstate by name.

I fully admit to not knowing much about Bolton beyond what I read in the papers and online, but one has to surmise that, given the the online right's collectively gleeful insistence that the skillset described in the "online left's received wisdom on the subject" is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to dealing with the UN, the online left is probably pretty much correct about that skillset. Not that it's the limit of Bolton's skills, but that it is almost certainly delineates the reason the Bush administration wants him and the "online right" agrees.

Oh, Tacitus has put up a new blog, Confirm Bolton. If you want to read, discuss, argue, or make purely impassioned arguments, check it out.

I don't usually visit Redstate, so it's kind of odd that I'm the bringing attention to this.

but that it is almost certainly delineates the reason the Bush administration wants him and the "online right" agrees.

Not true Phil, the real reason the right wants Bolton is that we are absolutely certain that moustache will scare the hell of the French. Additionally, for once when another ambassador declares, "I curse your moustache!" we want it to really mean something... at least more than it did for Albright regardless of technical correctness. Not to mention we just love the sound of "Bolton from the UN".

Are you saying Albright doesn't have a moustache?

I'm open to the technical correctness of the moustache curse in Albright's case.

Phil: in all seriousness, I think (as I said in some previous post) that what happened was that Rice put her foot down and said, this guy will NOT be one of my undersecretaries; unlike Powell, she's close to Bush and so was able to prevail over Cheney, and they had to give him something, so they gave him this.

Thanks for that Slart. I found it a bit bizarre that a post by Tacitus at Redstate is the same as the first post, made by Krempasky, at ConfirmBolton, though this might be some working out the kinks sort of thing.

The second post had a fact I didn't know, which was that Bolton was an intern in the Nixon White House. Interestingly, the narrative is that Bolton needs to be confirmed because

The undersecretary for arms control got under the Foreign Service’s collar because he knew how to consistently outmaneuver them, despite being outmanned. His entire network of allies at State could be counted on one hand, while in the other corner (and everywhere else) stood the 10,000 members of the Foreign Service. Yet the reason we have the much-praised Proliferation Security Iniative and intercepted the shipment of centrifuges that brought Libya to its knees is simple: John Bolton is a better bureaucrat than most bureaucrats.

Somehow, this idea that there is a small handful of people that has to resist the blandishments and ignorance of the masses is a meme that conservatives* keep fresh and vice versa.

Ironically, in Tac's latest there, he quotes Moynihan and suggests that Bolton is his mold. Besides completely ignoring the framework and time that Moynihan made those comments, the Moynihan comparison really diminishes Bolton, as Moynihan was a bipartisan's bipartisan, serving in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon's admin, before serving as UN rep under Ford (one of Moynihan's first staff members when he was Kennedy's Undersecretary of Labor was Ralph Nader. Can you imagine Bolton having that kind of connection?)

*I know the drill about classifying entire groups of people, but I haven't read all of what Krempasky has written, and I would argue that it is a theme among conservatives.

Also worth noting is that at least one member of the Moynihan family has come forward and said ixnay on comparing Pat Moynihan to Bolton.

Bolton is Moynihan, Boxer is Kim Il Jung (sp?), George W. Bush is Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon is George McGovern. Shirley MacClain gets to be anyone she wants.

I always wanted to be Mickey Mantle or John Lennon, but had to settle for being Timmy the Wonder Dog.

Shirley MacClain gets to be anyone she wants.

I thought it was anybody got to be Shirley MacLaine.

(one of Moynihan's first staff members when he was Kennedy's Undersecretary of Labor was Ralph Nader. Can you imagine Bolton having that kind of connection?)

I'm trying to figure out why that kind of connection is a good thing.

At the risk of taking a piece of random snark seriously, don't you think that Nader's efforts at consumer protection is something that is good and important? Or is this one of those things about being good versus being evil from birth?


At the risk of being unsnarky [shudder], I think the efforts of many at consumer protection is a good thing. Ralph on the other hand…

…ohhh, no need to pick a fight, let's just say I'm not as big a fan of Ralph as he is.

let's just say I'm not as big a fan of Ralph as he is.

I'm not particularly enamored of him lately either, but a look at the list of organizations he has helped to organize should give one pause. At any rate, I have to imagine that he was not the most deferential staff member, so my point about imagining Bolton hiring someone who is going to challenge his points still stands.

Not just anybody gets to be Shirley MacLaine.

Only well-known historical figures from the past who can spell.

And, we know they are historical because, umm, they are from the past.

John, I can get you Mantle's knees if you want.


Funny you should mention that. I'm on the D.L. at the moment from my baseball league, and center field, because of a very sore knee. I do have Mantle's drinking habits, but you can keep his liver. Both of them.

There are certain situations where a "bad cop" personality rises to the top. One stereotypical example is the union shop steward. Often the most ornery, contentious, unreasonable person is elected, with the hope that he (usually "he") will "stick it to management." My stepfather and I had a conversation about this after the election, and we agreed that at least some of the vote for George W. Bush was along that line -- a vote for a mean S.O.B.

It seems to me that this charactersizes much of the support for John Bolton -- he's "just what the doctor ordered" (Google that plus Bolton and see what you get).

Whether this is a good idea for a U.N. ambassador I leave to others. I have to say, though, that it is 100% consistent behavior for George W. Bush.

It makes me laugh to think that Dick Cheney expressed his disappointment and bewilderment ("I'm not sure exactly why," he said) about the administration's failure to "bridge the divide" in the debate with John Edwards.

[eek, I though I spell checked. "characterizes".]

More news of Bolton. And Laura Rozen has more.

"If we, as a people, start to think that the momentary satisfactions of 'raising an ideological middle finger to the rest of the world' are more important than appointing someone who can consistently advance our national interests, then we are in deep, deep trouble."

WE, as a people, do not agree on what OUR national interests are. I am willing to give Bush the international arena, thinking that he has done a much better job then the Democrats ever did, especially in terms of recognizing that women are held as slaves, property of men, in the middle east. He takes trafficking and female sexual slavery seriously which is more than the Democrats ever did.

I believe the energy of progressive people is better spent by focusing on opposing Bush's domestic agenda instead of scattering like buckshot, chasing the latest whims of "our" leaders, the filthy rich Democrat legislators hot to protect their Middle East and French investments from the Bush finger.

Collin Powell and his wife's Saudi connections run straight to their own pocket books so grow up children and look to your own economic interest. The whole anti-Bolton campaign is financed by the Saudi's, Syria and their millionaire friends. And you are serving them because they rattled your cage.

While you are spending energy on a "who cares?" Bolton, Bush is getting his federal judges confirmed, handing tax money to religious organizations, protecting the profits of the hospital, pharmaceutical, insurance complex while OUR citizens die from lack of health care and bankrupting the U.S. budget so that all social programs including social security will be wiped out.

We are, all of us, just puppets as long as we are not focused on OUR economic interests but instead run with the herd whenever we feel pressure to move. Ask yourself, who are the cowboys and where are they pushing us to go?

Still more on Bolton. Boy, I'm sure glad the President decided to nominate such an upstanding character.

Hmm, here I only see Bolton doing his job - pushing for what the WH wanted.

Ok, now he's really really done.

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