John Bolton For Secretary Of State? Please Say It Isn’t So

It comes from The Washington Times so take it for what its worth, but the latest rumor about a potential Romney cabinet has former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as Secretary of State:

John R. Bolton, the U.N. ambassador during the George W. Bush administration and specialist on arms control and security issues, is said to be a leading candidate for secretary of state.

Daniel Larison sums up my feelings about this possibility quite nicely:

That’s a terrifying prospect, but it’s also not very surprising. Many of Romney’s foreign policy views sound very much like Bolton’s. Bolton is a prominent supporter of Romney. There is every reason to assume that Romney will govern in a fashion that would generally satisfy Bolton. The hope that Romney’s foreign policy statements are all campaign posturing and don’t mean anything has always been just that-a hope. The fact that Bolton is even being considered for this position ought to provide all the confirmation anyone needs that Romney’s positions on Iran and Russia in particular are more than just election-year demagoguery.

It’s possible that Bolton’s name is just being floated to satisfy the base and that Romney would actually name someone else to what is arguably the most important Cabinet position, of course. It’s also worth noting that Bolton would not necessarily be easy to confirm. Thanks to a Democratic filibuster in 2005, President George W. Bush had to use a recess appointment to get Bolton in as UN Ambassador, and then Bolton ended up leaving the position before he would’ve had to face a Senate vote for final confirmation. While it is highly unusual for the Senate, even the Senate of an opposite party to reject Cabinet nominees, it is not unprecedented. After a particularly contentious confirmation process in 1989 the Senate rejected the nomination of John Tower to become George H.W. Bush’s Defense Secretary based in large part over reports of his drinking behavior. Would the same thing happen to Bolton? Would Romney risk it? Personally, I can only hope he picks someone else because John Bolton is among the last people we need in charge at Foggy Bottom.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    You can’t sell the hamburger until you’ve bought the cow.

  2. Gustopher says:

    You do understand that Romney is completely beholden to the far right, don’t you? He has no principles, so there’s a chance that he would betray the far right as soon as he is in office, but why anyone would vote for a candidate on that hope is beyond me.

    Take Romney at his word — he’s severely conservative. Or a pathological liar. Or both.

    If you live in a swing state, and you don’t want the far right in charge, you pretty much have to vote for Obama. For non-swing-states, where one’s vote doesn’t count for victory, 3rd party protest votes are fine.

  3. Rob in CT says:

    Mitt runs with a bad crowd, Doug. Particularly on Foreign Policy. Unrepentant neocons.

    Not that I actually expect Bolton as SecState in a Romney administration. I guess I’m jaded enough now that I wouldn’t be totally shocked, but mild surprise (and disgust, of course, but most of that would be spent already if Romney wins).

  4. legion says:

    Bolton has a very forceful personality and strong opinions he’ll shove down your throat. Romney is the exact opposite. I’m frankly surprised they aren’t touting him for Veep.

  5. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Bolton would be an excellent choice on the merits, but probably could not be confirmed. State needs a giant mental enema. Shit, instead of deporting Guatemalan gardeners we’d be better off deporting the entire State Dept. bureaucracy. Our allies in Europe and elsewhere also need to get beaten with a reality stick.

    If I were Romney I’d see if Lieberman wanted the job and if not then I’d tap someone from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. For example if Connie Mack as expected loses in November to Bill Nelson then I’d tap Mack for Sec. of State. Mack is a solid conservative and when people take major political risks for the good of the party they should be rewarded in kind. Most importantly Rep. Mack does not subscribe to the Chamberlain school of foreign policy.

  6. Bolton is an “excellent choice” only if you want to return to the Bush Administration’s policy of perpetual war.

  7. Justin Abroad says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Wait, isn’t that also Obama’s policy now? His CIA is now confirmed to be channelling arms into Syria. He’s not exactly ending any wars now, is he? We’d still be in Iraq if not for the whole immunity thing forcing us out. What’s next?

  8. Tlaloc says:

    Did we ever leave the policy of perpetual war? Seems more like the left got co-opted into supporting it by nominating Obama…

  9. legion says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Perpetual war? Ummm… I hate to break it to you, Doug, but that’s all but explicitly a major tenet of the GOP platform nowadays. Of course Bolton’s being seriously considered.

  10. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    “Bolton is an “excellent choice” only if you want to return to the Bush Administration’s policy of perpetual war.”

    And since Romney is explicitly threatening war with Iran (and saying Obama has been too lax with them) and saying he will ratchet up tensions with both Russia and China, why do you think that is not Romney’s policy?

  11. al-Ameda says:

    On the basis of that mustache alone he should be dismissed from consideration.

    The hope that Romney’s foreign policy statements are all campaign posturing and don’t mean anything has always been just that-a hope. The fact that Bolton is even being considered for this position ought to provide all the confirmation anyone needs that Romney’s positions on Iran and Russia in particular are more than just election-year demagoguery.

    Seriously, elections have consequences, and one is that a president puts together his team.

    Obama has carried out a more war-oriented approach than many Democrats would have preferred, however he has been measured and cautious with respect to Syria, Iran, and North Korea. I would NOT expect the same caution from a Romney/Bolton team.

  12. Bennett says:

    I was only 19 when the Iraq War began, so I didn’t follow politics as closely as I do now (though maybe I should have considering I would soon be fighting for my life there and in another shit-hole country that we all know). I digress.

    To people older than me, was it as obvious during the election cycle of 2000 that we would be invading Iraq if Bush won as it is that we will go to war with Iran if Romney wins?

  13. KansasMom says:

    @Bennett: Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yes and thankfully 9/11 came along and provided the perfect excuse.

  14. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Bennett:

    No. George specifically stated he wasn’t into “nation building”, and that was but conventional wisdom of the right of that period.

    They say 9/11 “changed everything”. It certainly didn’t change the reasons why we declined to do regime change in Iraq after Gulf War I.

  15. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Given how much the American right has been hyperventilating about Obama insulting our allies I am somewhat surprised the see that face again outside a cubicle.

    Are they really unaware how unpopular this guy is abroad? This would be essentially a “f*** your opinions, do as you’re told, lackey” signal to everyone in Europe. I do not know a single person who does not consider Bolton to be American unilateral arrogance personified.

  16. jukeboxgrad says:

    Perpetual war? Ummm… I hate to break it to you, Doug, but that’s all but explicitly a major tenet of the GOP platform nowadays.

    Exactly. We spend as much on ‘defense’ as the entire rest of the world combined, and Mitt and the GOP want us to spend even more. That can’t possibly be justified without perpetual war.

    Too many war contractors will have to find another job if our policy of perpetual war comes to an end. And if those people can’t find work, who will fund our political campaigns? Sheldon Adelson can’t do it all by himself. The people who want to end our policy of perpetual war are trying to sweep this important problem under the rug.

    What we have is precisely what Ike warned us about.

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Yes and thankfully 9/11 came along and provided the perfect excuse.

    Thankfully?

    Given how much the American right has been hyperventilating about Obama insulting our allies I am somewhat surprised the see that face again outside a cubicle.

    Exactly right…the cognitive dissonance is overwhelming…

  18. @Justin Abroad:

    Obama’s “permanent war” is at least a warm war, trending toward a cold war … and not trending toward more hot, shooting, wars.