BREAKING: John Bolton Resigns

UN Ambassador John Bolton will step down at the end of his recess appointment and not go through a Senate confirmation process that is sure to end badly.

Unable to win Senate confirmation, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton will step down when his recess appointment expires soon, the White House said Monday.

John Bolton Resigns Bolton’s nomination has languished in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for more than a year, blocked by Democrats and several Republicans. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, a moderate Republican who lost in the midterm elections Nov. 7 that swept Democrats to power in both houses of Congress, was adamantly opposed to Bolton.

President Bush gave Bolton the job temporarily in August 2005, while Congress was in recess. But the appointment expires when Congress formally adjourns, no later than early January. Although Bush could not give Bolton another recess appointment, the White House was believed to be exploring other ways of keeping him in the job, perhaps by giving him a title other than ambassador. But Bolton informed the White House he intended to leave when his current appointment expires, White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said.

It’s a shame that the use of extraordinary tactics by the minority in the Senate kept him from getting confirmed to begin with. With the new Congress coming in, Bolton wouldn’t win an up-or-down vote, obviating any previous rationale for bypassing the rules.

Hot Air has video.

UPDATE: Both Steven Taylor and Bruce McQuain share my sense that this story is essentially just an acknowledgment of reality rather than a catastrophe. Judging by my trackbacks and Memeorandum, though, quite a number of folks are up in arms about this.

Pam Oshry is going positively apes bonkers, declaring that “Anybody happy about this is an America hater. The tyranny of the minority strikes again.” I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Republicans were defeated in some election or another and are about to assume minority status. Of course, those who voted–let alone know who John Bolton is–are technically a minority.

Sean Hackbarth adds some perspective: “What has he done of real significance to advance U.S. interests? I can’t think of anything off-hand. That’s not because of Bolton’s abilities so much the position he’s in.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. superdestroyer says:

    President Bush should but not appoint a replace and leave a career diplomat as an acting ambassador. It would demonstrate the total irrelevance of the United States and it would not give the Democrats in the Senate anything to complain about.

  2. spencer says:

    Yes, such extraordinary democratic tactics as agreeing with some republicans about Bolten.

    No telling what these extraordinary Democrats will do next, maybe something as unamerican as winning a majority in a free election.

  3. Tano says:

    Yeah James,

    Could you remind us please just what those “extraordinary tactics” were?

  4. Steven Plunk says:

    Blocking an up or down vote seems extraordinary when it comes to confirmation of appointees. The votes to confirm were there, why not allow a vote?

  5. I know conservatives like fighters. After the GOP defeats last month along with Rumsfeld resigning many think Bush is going wobbly.

  6. Anderson says:

    Anybody happy about this is an America hater.

    Oops, guess I hate America. As my 100% score on this quiz seemed to indicate.

  7. legion says:

    Pam’s derangement regarding All Things Bolton is long-standing. Indeed, as James says, anyone who is outraged, or even surprised, by this hasn’t really been partaking of reality lately.

    I’m more entertained by the intersection of right-wingers who insist the UN is a pointless body – powerless at best & dangerous at worst, with those who said Bolton’s being our Ambassador there was going to be some sort of second coming of global American influence. What do these people smoke in the morning?

  8. Pug says:

    I only got 87% on the quiz, but I still finished as a terrorist loving traitor. How low a grade do you have to get to be a patriotic American?

  9. Anderson says:

    I took it again & figured out how to achieve a 0%, making me a “Patriot.”