Request for Explanation
From today’s New York Times, on the John Bolton nomination
Mr. Chafee told CNN that the committee’s Republicans might consider whether to recommend that the nomination be withdrawn.Senator Chafee, you need to tell your constituents exactly why you believe this. The article hints that the sole reason is “bad temperament”
Mr. Chafee and 2 others have now voiced significant doubts about whether Mr. Bolton has the temperament and credibility to win confirmation.The “bad temperament” charge rests on two flimsy accounts, both from anti-Bush partisans; 1) testimony about a single incident, ten years ago, from the organizer of a group called “Mothers Opposing Bush” and 2) testimony from a permanent bureaucrat who seemed primarily interested in defending his turf and who supported John Kerry in the last Presidential election. You owe your constituents an explanation of why the testimony of two anti-Bush partisans outweighs all else in this matter. (Even if the explanation is “well, most of my constituents are anti-Bush partisans”).
Senator Chafee, if you are truly the maverick that you are often described as, give your constituents a bold explanation, on policy grounds, why John Bolton is unfit to be America’s UN ambassador. Do not let yourself be used by partisans who seek to 1) to embarass the President in any way possible and, more importantly, 2) who believe that the job of the UN ambassador is to relay the “international community’s” instructions to the US, not to represent the views of America to the world.
Your comment about Chafee’s “maverick” status called to mind something that, perhaps, doesn’t need to be stated but I will anyway. Simply, Chafee is not a maverick in any sense, nor are any of the so-called “moderate” Republicans. Instead, they are beholden to their constituents just as much, if not more, than those who are either “radically” left or right. Growing up in Maine, I am intimately familiar with the pride Mainers take in “seeing both sides” and being middle-of-the-road, hence the two senators they have elected, Snowe and Collins, while infuriating to conservatives, are exactly the type of Republicans that Mainers want. The same can be said of Chafee. He is not being bold, he is covering his bases for the more immediate purpose of looking good back home to those “moderate” and “independent” Rhode Island voters who would otherwise be predisposed to vote Democrat for Senate as they do in nearly every other instance. So, while it may appear Chafee is a maverick within the context of national politics, if one is to adhere to the “all politics is local” axiom, then it is clear that there is nothing “brave” about Chafee’s stand. In fact, I’d say he’s being thoroughly consistent.