Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bolton's just too hip for scaredy-cat Dems

Leave it to Mark Steyn to lay it on the dems opposing the Bolton nomination in his commentary. You can hear Boxer, Biden et al, gnashing their teeth all over the country.

Boy, this confirmation battle over John Bolton, the president's plain-spoken nominee for U.N. ambassador, is really heating up. Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Democratic Party's comely obstructionist, has charged that Bolton needs ''anger management lessons.''

I don't know about you, but nothing makes me want to hurl a chair through the window and punch someone's lights out like being told I need anger management lessons. So I was interested to hear about the kind of violent Boltonian eruptions that had led Boxer to her diagnosis. Well, here it comes. (If you've got young children present, you might want to take them out of the room.) From the shockingly brutal testimony of Thomas Fingar, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Intelligence Research:

Q: Could you characterize your meeting with Bolton? Was he calm?

Fingar: No, he was angry. He was standing up.

Q: Did he raise his voice to you? Did he point his finger in your face?

Fingar: I don't remember if he pointed. John speaks in such a low voice normally. Was it louder than normal? Probably. I wouldn't characterize it as screaming at me or anything like that. It was more, hands on hips, the body language as I recall it, I knew he was mad.

He was ''standing up'' with ''hands on hips''! Who's he think he is -- Carmen Miranda? Fortunately, before Bolton could let rip with a ''pursed lip'' or escalate to the lethal ''tsk-ing'' maneuver, Fingar was able to back cautiously out of the room and call the FBI anger management team, who surrounded the building and told the deranged diplomat to come out slowly with his hands above his hips.
Oh the inhumanity of it all. Bolton with his hands on his hips. One can only imagine what Boxer would think of a Marine Drill Instructor. Talk about some one that can really ream an ass out!
If the Senate poseurs and the media wanted to mount a trenchant critique of Bolton's geopolitical philosophy, that would be reasonable enough. But there's not even a pretense of any of that. Instead, his opponents have seized on one episode -- an intelligence analyst in a critical position with whom Bolton and others were dissatisfied -- and used it to advance the bizarre proposition that every junior official should be beyond reproach, and certainly beyond such aggressive ''body language'' as putting one's hands on hips. Or as Peter Beinart, editor of the New Republic, complained to the BBC the other night: Bolton was ''disloyal to his subordinates.''

It's been obvious for three years now that the torpid federal bureaucracies -- the agencies that so comprehensively failed America on 9/11 -- are resistant to meaningful reform, but Beinart, in demanding that the executive branch swear fealty to the most incompetent underling, distills the ''reform'' charade to its essence: We'll talk reform, we'll pass reform bills, we'll merge and de-merge and re-merge every so often, we'll change three-letter acronyms (INS) to four-letter acronyms (BCIS) just to show how serious we are, and a year or four down the line we may well get real tough and require five-letter acronyms.
How insensative of Bolton, to admonish an incompetent employee. I suppose this is the culture of DC, where incompetence is over looked and some times even rewarded. Otto Reich, who has worked with Bolton, has a few things to say about how Bolton dealt with incompetence.
And, if an underperforming bureaucrat winds up getting Atlanta or Dallas nuked, tough. Better that happen than that out-of-control nutcakes rampage around with hands on hips. After all, as National Review's John Derbyshire put it three years ago, deftly summing up the philosophy of this new war: Better dead than rude.

As for the job Bolton's up for, what would make Barbara Boxer and Joe Biden put their hands on hips? Child sex rings run from U.N. peacekeeping operations? Sudan sitting on the Human Rights Commission while it licenses mass murder in Darfur? Kofi Annan's son doing a $30,000-a-year job but somehow having a spare quarter-million dollars to invest in a Swiss soccer club? There are tides in the affairs of men when someone has to put his hands on his hips and toss his curls. And, if the present depraved state of the U.N. isn't one of them, nothing is. Unlike most of the multilateral blatherers, John Bolton is hip to that.
It would appear that Boxer and crew are afraid to upset the status quo at their precious UN, an organization mired in corruption and scandal. I suppose they fear that Bolton will put his hands on his hips and make some poor UN diplomat cry. - Sailor

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