Read Brad Setser's comments on the Wolfowitz nomination, they're the best I've read on the subject by far. If I was a normal person, I could leave it at that. But no, I'm a blogger, so here are some thoughts:
• Brad's right that it makes little sense for the Europeans to block the Wolf. It'll just piss us off and, even if it worked, the next nominee would be no more palatable to them. Nor does it strike me as smart for Democrats to make an issue of him. There's not really an upside to nailing Bush's nominee for the World bank. Americans are not particularly interested in developmental economics and they don't quite care if some high-level Pentagon functionary is going to be taking care over in the area, at least he won't be mucking up Iraq anymore. That stands in contrast to the Bolton nomination, which really does place the Bush administration in flagrant, extreme opposition to a relatively popular institution. Americans generally think we should be working with the UN, so nominating an ambassador who's main interest would appear to be giving Kofi Annan a wedgie makes the Bushies look bad. And I'm all for doing that.
• This really sucks for Blair. Part of his implicit rationale for supporting Bush's every half-cocked adventure was that he could act as a moderating influence. Apparently not. George is leaving Tony at the scene and holding the loot on this one -- if Blair can't even convince Bush not to nominate walking, talking affronts to Europe like Paul Wolfowitz, what good has all the lapdog work done? None at all. That's why Blair is sitting on the telly having voters ask whether he'd wipe asses for $9 an hour and demand apologies for entering Iraq. I almost pity the guy.