|If you believe many of the people who have worked for and with him, John Bolton is a bully of the first order, and not a very smart one: he seems to have alienated many of the potential character witnesses who could have testified that his bungling of North Korean arms control and his shoot-from-the-mouth blunders during public speeches were aberrations, and not indicative of his character.
Instead, we get tales of abuse of authority by Bolton when he was the State Department's intelligence and research chief. Today's AP headline (reproduced by all the major dalies):
Former chief of the State Department's bureau of intelligence and research castigated John R. Bolton on Tuesday as a "kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy "who
abused analysts who disagreed with his views of Cuba's weapons capabilities.
With Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Democratic attack, Carl W. Ford Jr. appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support accusations of harassment.
"I have never seen anyone quite like Mr. Bolton," Ford testified under oath. "He abuses his authority with little people."
Contradicting Bolton's assertion Monday that he never tried to have officials who disagreed with him discharged, Ford charged that Bolton tried to sack the analyst, Christian Westermann, and that Bolton was a "serial abuser."
Sounds like just what we need at the United Nations ...
And speaking of kiss-ups, I find two stories on major Internet news sites today particularly disturbing:
"iPod one reveals Bush's musical tastes" (reproted by CNN's Peter Wilkinson today):
The music tastes of U.S. President George W. Bush have come under scrutiny after an aide revealed the playlist of his new iPod player.
The portable digital device, given to Bush by his daughters Jenna and Barbara last July, contains much country music, but also songs by Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and the Knack. ...
You mean to tell me CNN felt it was important and worth their dime to put a reporter on finding out what George Bush listens to on his freaking iPod? I sure hope this guy Wilkinson is a new hire or an intern... Quick: raise your hand if 1) you give a crap what George Bush listens to, iPod or no, and 2) you're not a "daily prayer for our beloved president" FReeper.
...then there's this lead paragraph from MSNBC's "First Read:"
Having sent United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad unannounced, President Bush for the second day in a row clutches his good-luck charms of national security and burgeoning democracy in Iraq, delivering a speech on the WOT (war on terror) at Fort Hood at 11:20 am ET, meeting with the families of 30 fallen soldiers, and having lunch with US troops at 12:30 pm ET.
Not such a bad thing in istelf, unless you pair it with this:
"Three indicted in alled terror plot against U.S. financial institutions."
Timing is everything, particularly when it produces distraction (with the help of a kiss-up press corps...)