John Bolton Likely Out as UN Ambassador

As speculated yesterday, it appears that John Bolton will be the next sacraficial lamb.

NewsMax has learned that U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton will likely leave his post next month.

After a rocky series of Senate confirmation hearings, Bolton was sent to the U.N. by President Bush in August 2005 under a recess appointment. That allowed the president to bypass Senate confirmation while it was in recess, but the appointee could only serve for the length of the current Congress which is set to expire at year’s end.

There had been indications that Bolton might win Senate confirmation after the election when several key votes might be open to favoring Bolton. But the GOP’s apparent loss of the Senate has doomed that hope. “This nomination is dead and we have known it for several days,” a source close to the U.S. mission to the U.N. tells NewsMax.

Not surprisingly, the news has conservatives hopping mad. Tammy Bruce huffs, “You know, if the president is so desperate to make the Dems happy, why doesn’t he just resign and then apply to be Pelosi’s personal interior decorator?” Pam Oshry adds, “I say here, now, STOP THE INSANITY. Throwing our best, our brightest to the insatiable leftist beast makes them hungrier. Rumsfeld, now Bolton? WTF? and Why?”

Here’s why: We lost six Senate seats Tuesday.

John Bolton was defeated even when we had a large majority, owing to the powers of the minority to obstruct in the Senate. Had we hung onto the Senate, he’d likely have been blocked again. Then, though, Bush could at least have the “he didn’t get a vote” hook to justify another recess appointment. Now, he’d get a vote and lose.

When you lose elections, you lose the ability to make controversial public policy decisions. Indeed, I seem to have read somewhere that this is the reason we have elections. If we could continue to govern as if we had a 55-45 majority when we are in a 49-51 minority, then what would be the point of all the hand wringing over losing?

FILED UNDER: Congress, Uncategorized, , ,
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. legion says:

    “I say here, now, STOP THE INSANITY. Throwing our best, our brightest to the insatiable leftist beast makes them hungrier. Rumsfeld, now Bolton? WTF? and Why?”

    Here’s why: We lost six Senate seats Tuesday.

    No, it’s because the right continues to consider guys like Bolton and Rumsfeld to be their “best and brightest”. Or maybe that’s why they lost the Senate. Cart, horse, chicken, egg…

  2. I must confess: the “best and brightest” tag struck me as well. Bolton has been adequate in his post, but he is hardly irreplaceable. And it seems quite obvious that based on track record, Rumsfeld hasn’t been a succesful SecDef. Even if one thinks he is a genius, there are very good reasons to replace him–and have been for some time.

    When Bush came into office I was impressed by his cabinet. However, in retrospect, based on performance–especially in foreign policy–that assessment was unwarranted.

    While some my quibble with me on that count, it is hard (indeed, impossible) to argue that they have been an impressive as they were billed to be.

  3. Also, as I argued at the time, why is it so horrible to require that a President come up with a nominee for a position that can garner Senate approval? Was Bolton really the indispensable man that Bush had to have?

  4. legion says:

    No, Bolton was the indispensible man that Bush wanted to use to poke Congressional Democrats in the eye, underlining their inability to stop him (Bush) from doing whatever he wanted.

    Rumsfeld was (IMHO) a somewhat-competent guy given far too much power. Once his ego took hold, he was free to basically stomp anyone who disagreed with him, regardless of their relative skill & experience. That, more than any other single factor is why (again, IMHO, and far from the _only_ reason) Iraq is as screwed up as it is today.

  5. Anderson says:

    What I’ve read about Bolton makes me not in the least sorry to see him go. But he’s insidious; I’ve heard him on the radio twice, & he manages to sound like the most reasonable guy in the world.

  6. Jim Henley says:

    Considering that the last time the phrase “best and brightest” was in circulation it denoted the architects of a disastrous war, I’m perfectly content that Pam Oshry apply it to the likes of Rumsfeld and Bolton. Rock on, Pam Oshry!

  7. James Joyner says:

    Jim: Yes, the Halberstam reference occurred to me as well.

  8. madmatt says:

    It was chafee who held him up the first time…don’t blame the dems alone…remember you are the party of personal responsibility!

  9. James Joyner says:


    Fair enough. Lame duck Chafee is opposing him again, it appears.

    The price of putting together a majority coalition is accepting people like Chafee and Snowe into the ranks. That’s the only way to make inroads into states that favor the other party. The Dems did that in reverse this year with the likes of Jim Webb.