Jonah Goldberg

Here is the undeniable, irrefutable truth of the whole controversy over John Bolton's embattled nomination for the job as America's ambassador to the United Nations. If John Bolton had been the nicest, sweetest, let-me-help-you-with-your-groceries, you-can-sleep-on-my-couch, I'll-get-the-thorn-out-of-your-paw teddy bear to everybody he ever worked with or met, not a single Democratic senator on the Foreign Relations Committee would change his vote from "no" to "yes." And, if Bolton were an H.G. Wellsian lover of one-world government who believed that the United Nations was America's last best hope, all those "no" votes would switch to "yes" votes - even if it turned out that Bolton had a Skipper complex that compelled him to swat every wayward staffer in the head with his hat.

In other words, all of the "controversy" of the last couple weeks is bogus. It's a kabuki dance. Whether the allegations against Bolton are true or not is almost entirely beside the point, because if a completely unrelated set of facts were not in play, no one would care. In short, this is borking pure and simple.

This is all about desperation. John Bolton is a U.N. skeptic, as are most Americans and most conservatives. Democrats and liberals are very grumpy about this fact. They are also testy toward Mr. Bolton for a string of reasons: He's effective. He's an Iraq war hawk who can be punished more easily than, say, George W. Bush (who won re-election) or Condoleezza Rice (who is far more formidable politically). What makes him even more annoying is that, unlike many of his colleagues, he is not a so-called "neoconservative." He's an old-fashioned, do-what's-right-for-America-and-the-rest-of-the-world-be-damned type.

Bolton was all for invading Iraq, but building a democracy there was something he considered close to a fool's errand. Once the decision was made, however, he followed his boss, the president. This, too, bothers the Democrats because it suggests that Bolton would follow the president's agenda rather than kowtow to the cookie-pushers of the State Department bureaucracy and the expense-account nuncios of Turtle Bay.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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