CNN: Bush to Give Bolton Recess Appointment

CNN reports that President Bush will use a recess appointment to put John Bolton in as U.N. Ambassador.

Source: Bush to appoint Bolton to U.N. (CNN)

President Bush will use a recess appointment to install John Bolton temporarily as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a senior administration official said Monday. Such a move would thwart Senate Democrats who have blocked Bolton’s nomination in a dispute over documents amid accusations that Bolton doesn’t have the temperament for the nation’s top U.N. post.

Under the Constitution, a president has the power to make appointments without Senate confirmation when Congress goes into recess. Lawmakers began their current break on Friday. A recess appointment would last until the end of the current term of Congress, which would put Bolton at the United Nations until December 2006 or as late as January 2007.

This strikes me as a big mistake.

For one thing, U.N. Ambassador is hardly of sufficient importance to justify thumbing Senate Democrats in the eye this way. For another, John Bolton is hardly Robert Bork. Indeed, Bolton may be a case that epitimizes why the filibuster is sometimes a good thing.

FILED UNDER: Congress, United Nations
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mark says:

    But let’s be honest, less than 1% of Americans actually care about this, and only a handful more even know who John Bolton is when asked.

  2. Barry says:

    Yes. That’s why we have Senators.

  3. Don Surber says:

    Dems wanted us to work with the UN — and so for four months they have denied us a UN ambassador

  4. Does it really matter who the ambassador to a failed, worthless organization really is? And doesn’t the UN ambassador just vote how the pres tells them?

    The UN ambassador hardly matters in anyone’s life in the U.S. – about as much as the ambassador to the UK (quick, who is it today?). At the end of the day even those who oppose him understand this.

  5. Mark: which raises the question of why the President would create this kind of confrontation over the appointment.

    Mitch: Exactly. So why fight this hard over Bolton? It doesn’t make sense.

  6. DaveD says:

    I agree with everyone above. The UN means very, very little to the average American. So, how much could this appointment mean?

  7. Michael says:

    More importantly, he is thimbing his nose at senators he needs to confirm his SCOTUS nominee. I think that’s a bad idea.

  8. Charlie (Colorado) says:

    I think you’re assuming that putting a thumb in Chris Dodd’s eye is a net negative. I doubt that it makes a bunch of difference, and it Dodd were to start making a big fuss about it — like his statement that came out as I type this — he just looks like a schmuck.

    To be frank, I think when people say things about the Bush Administration making a dumb choice, they ought to ask themselves why this bunch of dummies keeps winning things they want.

  9. legion says:

    Maybe I don’t have the ‘right’ perspective here (pun intended), but I thought it might have something to do with not having a known perjurer representing the US, or something like that…

    After all, there was an impeachment for the last perjurer we had in high office…

  10. notherbob2 says:

    What is all the fuss? The system states that the President nominates his choice for this position and if the opposition does not have enough votes to defeat the president’s choice, he serves. QED

  11. Herb says:

    While the filibuster may be a good thing, everyone knows that the Democrats have abused this procedure and given their all to embarrass the President and console themselves that they are “Americans” just acting for the good of the American people.

    The Democrats have stooped to lows that were unthinkable years ago and shown the American people that they are beyond any norms of common decency.

  12. Anderson says:

    I agree with everyone above. The UN means very, very little to the average American. So, how much could this appointment mean?

    DaveD, I mean this in the friendliest possible way, but that is a deeply clueless statement, as I suspect you’ll agree on rereading.

    Plenty of things mean very, very little to the average American but are important nonetheless.

    I honestly don’t know how important the UN ambassadorship is, but obviously it could be very useful as a platform, if nothing else. Putting a goofball like Bolton, who has screwed up 90% of everything he’s done (I believe he did make some usefully pro-Israeli statements once), displays simple contempt for the UN. That’s fine for bloggers; not so fine for the purported leader of the free world.

  13. janine says:

    The UN ambassador hardly matters in anyone’s life in the U.S. – about as much as the ambassador to the UK (quick, who is it today?). At the end of the day even those who oppose him understand this.

    Man, I’m so sick of that disingenuous little rhetorical strategy. Most Americans know who Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson are. Does that make them important? I bet many Americans don’t know who Alan Greenspan is; is he unimportant?

  14. For some time I’ve thought that the position should be left vacant indefinitely, rather than using a recess appointment. I still wish it had worked out that way.

  15. ICallMasICM says:

    ‘For one thing, U.N. Ambassador is hardly of sufficient importance to justify thumbing Senate Democrats in the eye this way.’

    Actually that’s ass backwards – if it wasn’t of suficient importance then it shouldn’t have been opposed in the way it was. Otherwise it’s the lunatics, an accurate description of the Kennedy’s Kerry’s et al., running the asylum.

  16. DaveD says:

    Anderson, I have reread my statement and I accept your assessment. So, I hope I don’t put something equally inane as a follow up. I guess even at an early age I had an interest in what goes on in the world. I remember as a kid live televised and taped proceedings from the UN of Stevenson, Gromyko, etc. and, of course, Kruschev banging his shoe. It all seemed so important. I guess I should be ashamed to write this, but I think the UN seems so impotent now. I think when the USSR and the US each had divided the majority of the world into spheres of influence, world stability depended on the ability of the two powers themselves to peacefully coexist. Now that the Soviet Union has dissolved, the rise of previously checked ethnic differences has shown how little the UN itself can actually do – maybe this is because there is not another power at this time to rightfully challenge the US in this forum. Maybe too the Bolton nomination is a problem , but more than that I am not sure recent Secretaries General, themselves, have been paragons of the ideal of world statesmen.

  17. Anderson says:

    DaveD, I think the UN was created by the Allied powers in order to be a cover for their enforcement of a postwar peace. In that perhaps elitist spirit, I think the UN can do as much as we do through it. Filling our slot with a mediocre bumbler is not the way to effectively use the UN for what it’s worth.

    Anyway, if Bolton has previously hidden merits, it’s time for them to shine, and I hope they do.