Back-Door Bolton

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So the president installed John Bolton as ambassador of the UN via recess appointment, thus getting around a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. (Bush’s rationale? Bolton was denied an “up-or-down vote.” Still don’t understand why anyone deserves an up-or-down vote, ever, but okay.)

The real action, though, is watching Bush supporters rationalize this rather sleazy move—yes, sleazy; it would be hard to believe that we wouldn’t hear conservatives grinding their teeth if, say, Bill Clinton pulled off this sort of stunt—over at the National Review. Here’s Mark Levin: “I agree about the questionable constitutionality of these kind of recess appointments, but they have been made since our first president.” So what Bush did isn’t exactly constitutional, but hey, everyone’s done it! Now that argument seems persuasive to me, but isn’t this precisely the sort of deviation from the original meaning of the Constitution that the writers of the National Review have been so up in arms about over the years? Didn’t Mark Levin just write a book blasting the Supreme Court for endorsing this kind of logic? This all gets very confusing.

At any rate, the possible silver lining to this Bolton appointment is that he won’t be hanging around at the State Department any longer, where he would very likely go out of his way to sabotage the ongoing nuclear disarmament talks between the United States and North Korea. [EDIT: Or not; Clint points out that it looks like Bolton may be spending lots of time in D.C…] Plus, Bolton’s so likely to say something brash, obnoxious, or even dangerous at the UN, that he might well embarrass the Bush administration and cause the White House to “over-correct” by taking a more modest foreign policy course or engage in smarter diplomacy. One can hope. Who knows? For super-thorough Bolton analysis, the Washington Note has much, much, much more.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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