Skip to comments.Republican joins Bolton hearing monkey biz (Steyn comes to the plate)
Posted on 04/24/2005 3:35:28 AM PDT by finnigan2
Britain's Daily Telegraph had an intriguing headline the other day: ''U.S. police force to recruit capuchin monkey for 'intelligence' work.'' Maybe when the Mesa, Ariz., SWAT team is through with the monkey in question, we could get him made chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He'd have his work cut out doing a worse job than Dick Lugar, the Republican senator who spent the last week getting walloped by a freak show alliance comprising (a) an opposition party whose foreign policy the electorate decided it was unable to take seriously and (b) jelly-spined GOP ''moderates'' who insist on taking it seriously. And so it was that John Bolton's nomination to the U.N. was derailed by this guy Voinovich.
As Shakespeare didn't quite say, who is Voinovich? What is he? Well, he's a fellow called George, and he's apparently a senator from Ohio who's on this Foreign Relations Committee. He was, alas, unable to interrupt his hectic schedule to attend either of the committee's hearings for John Bolton's U.N. nomination, but nevertheless decided last week he could not bring himself to support Bolton's nomination. ''My conscience got me,'' he said. Maybe one day his conscience will get him to attend the hearings he's paid to attend, but, for the moment, his conscience is more troubled by the story brought up by the senior Democratic obstructionist Joe Biden. As Sen. Biden put it, ''The USAID worker in Kyrgyzstan alleges that she was harassed -- not sexually harassed -- harassed by Mr. Bolton.''
This was a decade ago, in some hotel. John Bolton allegedly chased this woman down a corridor in a non-sexual manner. It's not clear from Biden whether he would have approved had she been chased down the corridor in a sexual manner, as the 42nd president was wont to do. But the non-sexual harassment was instead about policy matters relating to Kyrgyzstan. Maybe Bolton was in a foul mood or maybe he was in a vowel mood and, this being Kyrgyzstan, they didn't have any. But this is what the pitiful constitutional travesty of the Senate's ''advise and consent'' role has now dwindled down to: a sex scandal with no sex. All talk and no action. Only in America, folks. Or, to be more precise, only in the U.S. Senate.
I'll bet Pope Benedict XVI is glad that his conclave doesn't include either Cardinal Biden or Cardinal Voinovich, or his church would be pontiff-less indefinitely while they ''investigated'' last-minute rumors that he'd been off-hand to some guy in seminary 55 years ago. I had no strong views about the new pope one way or another, but I'd have voted for him just for the pleasure of seeing him drive the U.S. media bananas. Apparently, the New York Times was stunned that their short list of Cardinal Gloria Steinem, Cardinal Rupert Everett and Cardinal Rosie O'Donnell were defeated at the last moment by some guy who came out of left field and isn't even gay or female but instead belongs to the discredited ''Catholic'' faction of the Catholic Church.
Unlike the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the conclave of cardinals takes its job seriously. They understand the demands of the New York Times: women priests, gay sex, condoms for all. But, as befits an ancient institution, they take the long view: They think that radical secularism is weak and that the consequences of its weakness will prove dangerous and possibly fatal for the Western world. Therefore, there's no point accommodating it -- and, after all, those churches that do (the Episcopalians, for example) are already in steep decline. You can disagree with this, particularly if you're as shrill and parochial as Pope Benedict's American critics. But the conclave at least addressed the big issues.
By contrast, at a time of great geopolitical turbulence, all the senior foreign relations figures in the upper house of the national legislature of the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth can do is retail lame smears from the early '90s and late '80s. Last week, Newt Gingrich visited New Hampshire -- strictly for the beautiful defoliated trees and meandering washed-out washboard roads of scenic late-April Mud Season, you understand; nothing to do with putative presidential campaigns or anything like that. Anyway, a surprisingly large number of hitherto quiescent Granite State Republicans demanded to know what's the deal with the inept and unreliable GOP senators. Newt gave pretty much the standard reply: Well, you must understand the party's still not used to being in charge of Congress. If they'd taken the first poll of the 2008 primary right there and then, he'd have dropped off the graph.
Newt's answer was just about plausible in 1995. But after a decade in charge? The Iraqi people are expected to get the hang of this self-government thing in 20 minutes, but the Republican Party requires another decade or three? The Democrats lost in 2004 for two reasons: their lack of credibility on national security issues, and their descent into mindless obstructionism. Remember Tom Daschle? Me neither. But if you go to the local library and dig up all the yellowing clippings, you'll find he used to be in the papers pretty much every day until the second week of November.
The weak bromides touted by the Dems in lieu of a policy -- a legalistic approach to the war on terror, greater deference to the U.N. and America's ''friends'' -- were defeated at the polls. Since then, they've been further discredited: The failure of terrorist prosecutions in Europe underlines how disastrous John Kerry's serve-'em-with-subpoenas approach would be; the sewer of the Oil-for-Food scandal and the attempts by Kofi Annan to castrate the investigation into it demonstrate yet again that there is no problem in the world today that can't be made worse by letting the U.N. have a hand in solving it; and America's ''friends'' -- by which Kerry meant not allies like Britain and Australia but the likes of France and Canada -- turn out to be some of the countries most implicated in the corruption of U.N. ''humanitarianism.''
Republican voters understand this. Why don't Republican senators? The rap against John Bolton is that he gets annoyed with do-nothing bureaucrats. If that's enough to disqualify you from government service, then 70 percent of citizens who've visited the DMV in John Kerry's Massachusetts are ineligible. Sinking Bolton means handing a huge psychological victory to a federal bureaucracy that so spectacularly failed America on 9/11 and to a U.N. bureaucracy eager for any distraction from its own mess. The Democrats' interest in derailing Bush foreign policy is crude but understandable. But why would even the wimpiest Republican ''moderate'' want to help them out? Who needs capuchin monkeys in the Senate when GOP squishes are so eager to tap-dance for Democrat organ grinders?
I that doesn't smack you right upside the head, nothing will.
One great article, stating exactly what I feel, but in words I could never muster.
Absolutely love it!!
The inability or refusal to use the majority vote by the Republicans will be their downfall.
The U.S. Senate is a club, for the most part, of ineffective and in many cases, stupid clouts. The good of the nation is the furtherest from their minds.
Next time, I will not be so timid!
With all due respect, the Reps face a different problem when they are in the majority from the dims.
Every move the reps make is vilified and trashed by the MSM.
This makes it very hard for them to act in an aggressive manner. The reps must not jeopardize their senate majority and the dims know it.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
The man is good.
Wow!! I wish I could express it like this.
"I had no strong views about the new pope one way or another, but I'd have voted for him just for the pleasure of seeing him drive the U.S. media bananas."
It doesn't get any better than this. The world media was driven bananas. Gasp - a "Catholic" Pope? How dare they do that in Rome! In these times, having strong views, whether its Cardinal Joseph Ratinzger or Undersecretary John Bolton, is can get one in trouble with elite opinion. The problem is the elite in a democracy prefers not to rock the boat. Its a good thing the Church isn't run on that principle. Above all, what the world needs is not a passionless and tired status quo but shaking up. If Bolton is not confirmed by the Senate, perhaps the good news is there's no case to be made for finding someone who wants to genuinely see the UN work. It will be become even more irrelevant than the Church scorned by the Left.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
I collect Steynisms and this is a gem.
Being villified by a press sinking in trust and circulation isn't the problem it was in 1989. If they find it hard to govern as a Majority because a discredited press calls them mean names, they won't be the majority for much longer.
It needs to be remembered if the American people that elected them gave a damn what the press said, they wouldn't be there. Similiarly most of these people are not in danger of losing their jobs if they govern as a strong conservative, because that's the platform on which their voters voted. They expect results. The GOP Senate needs to deliver or else.
No, could it be they are more concerned about their individual careers and are timid about exercising power!
The Demorats were in power for many years and didn't hesitate enacting stupid, court packing, and pork barrel legislation over the objections of Republicans. (Many Republicans, of course, are also guilty of Pork Barrel legislation.)
You must make hay while you can, and screw the MSM.
Beautiful one sentence summation of this situation!
Steyn absolutely rocks!
It's fine to make hay, but not screw the reps while mowing.
Only sometimes is politics a matter of pursuasion. Sometimes it is a matter of shear force and fear of consequences. It is time from some real hardball, unlike Chrissie Matthews, who throws softballs, but throws them real fast.
My vote for Best quote from the article:
Sinking Bolton means handing a huge psychological victory to a federal bureaucracy that so spectacularly failed America on 9/11 and to a U.N. bureaucracy eager for any distraction from its own mess.
What a sour taste in the mouth this betrayal from the Pubs leaves.
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