GUESS WHO�S BACK? So with President Bush begging for a new spirit of bi-partisanship in Washington, he re-nominates the next-most-divisive administration official after Rumsfeld: the recess-appointed ambassador to the UN John Bolton. One has to wonder what the president is thinking -- or what tricks he has up his sleeve.
In the Senate, Republican support for Bolton has always been lukewarm. Indeed, his nomination died this fall because Republican Lincoln Chafee refused to support moving the nomination from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the Senate floor for a vote. And almost as soon as the Bolton re-nomination was announced by the White House, Chafee called a press conference restating his opposition to Bolton. In other words, Bolton�s re-nomination is DOA.
There are only two ways that Bolton could remain on the job -- and both are of dubious legality. Under option A, the president would select Bolton for a post not requiring Senate confirmation, then move him laterally as the �Acting Ambassador." Option B would be to simply give him a second recess appointment, but should this happen, Bolton would not be able to draw a salary. Both options would be akin to declaring war on a Senate with subpoena power.
I think Ian Williams put it best today: the president's got an Alamo complex.
--Mark Leon Goldberg