John Bolton was Jon Stewart’s guest tonight on Comedy Central. It is difficult to imagine a stranger juxtaposition. Stewart had been relentless in his attacks and, quite honestly, former United Nations Ambassador Bolton was an easy target.
The Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost ten stories today, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.
Why did John Bolton agree to appear? He had to have known how Stewart had skewered him and how the audience would respond to his mere presence?
Now I know. Bolton has cojones!
He was every bit Stewart’s equal in the debate. He was glib. He was prepared. He gave no ground. He was very impressive in the heat of verbal battle.
As the segment ended, it was clear he had won Jon Stewart’s respect.
He was not the caricature Stewart expected. He surely wasn’t the caricature I expected.
What is going on here? This was the ultimate “us” versus “them” appointment by the Bush administration. John Bolton, their designee to be United Nations Ambassador, is a man reviled by Democrats with a well documented career and strong opinions (including some spoken in front of rolling camera, now distributed by liberal groups).
But what could the Democrats do? They are a true minority party and have virtually no power on Capitol Hill at the moment.
Then, last night, a Republican senator started getting cold feet. From FoxNews.com:
Tuesday’s meeting came to a surprising halt when Sen. George Voinovich (search), R-Ohio, suggested he wasn’t “comfortable” voting for Bolton in light of new allegations that some members said they hadn’t had time to investigate.
“I’ve heard enough today that I don’t feel comfortable voting for Mr. Bolton. I think one’s interpersonal skills and their relationships with their fellow man is a very important ingredient [in] anyone that works for me,” Voinovich said.
I won’t discuss the merits of Bolton’s nomination. I don’t want partisan politics here on my blog. My interest is the process, not the merits of the appointment.
However, this is a stunning turn of events. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out, as it has become more than a simple nomination. This is now a test of the mettle of the Bush administration and their ability to rally, maybe even control, other Republicans.
There is no chance anyone could have predicted this nomination would end up in political limbo. Stay tuned.