Robert Novak

But Dodd, striking a pose of smiling affability, has been the driving force behind the assault on Bolton. An ardent supporter of normalizing relations with Cuba, Dodd is inexorable in blocking any nominee hostile to Fidel Castro's dictatorship. He kept Otto Reich from getting confirmed as assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs and now has done the same to Bolton.

White House aides were living in an unreal world when they privately blamed Dodd's hostility to Bolton on me and blamed my hostility to Dodd on Bolton. In fact, I was scourging Dodd for his pro-Castro bias long before Bolton became an issue.

The fecklessness at the White House in managing Bolton's nomination is exemplified by the feeling there to the end that Chafee could be brought along. Having poured money into Chafee's Rhode Island Republican primary campaign against a conservative challenger, Bush in private is furious over betrayal by the maverick Republican. Chafee's fellow GOP senators believe that if he were re-elected, he would have permitted Bolton's name to go to the Senate floor. Quirky to the end, Chafee says the Democratic election victory is reason to block Bolton.

"It was a travesty," Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, in describing Bolton's demise, told me. "Bipartisanship is a two-way street." Coleman, who as chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations probed U.N. corruption, believes Bolton "was the best" of Bush's U.N. ambassadors.

Now Coleman loses his chairmanship, and Bolton is gone. No wonder U.N. Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown, a Briton who brazenly has interfered in U.S. politics, was caught smiling at Turtle Bay this week.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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