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Tuesday, June 21, 2005


do as you're told

so much for the autonomy of the legislative branch. bill frist is becoming a something of a joke on the hill, i must imagine.

as one of the neoconservative architects of stovepiping, john bolton is an obvious deleterious influence wherever he's put. but i wonder if the united nations isn't the best place for him. as embarassing and counterproductive as it is to have a barbarian like bolton be the public face of the united states anywhere, he will be digging at smallish embezzlements, not be commanding american armies from that position -- and perhaps he will even begin to concede the relevancy of the united nations on some points, even if only as a manner of self-aggrandizement.

as a matter of method rather than ends, however, the entire affair has been a sad statement on the deterioration of the american government as a construction of divided powers. beyond having bush command obedience from the senate majority leader as though he were his dog, the refusal of the white house to comply with any of three separate lawful requests for documents by the senate relating to difficult spots on bolton's record prior to confirmation is an awful bit of dismissive arrogance on the part of the executive.

bush may consider a recess appointment without acceding to those lawful requests, but that has some drawbacks. if the administration does resort to this, it will serve to underscore the complete (if so far unvoiced) antipathy it has for congress -- or, for that matter, any procedure of oversight which inhibits the unfettered manifestation of its will. that an american presidency can function with such consistent disdain for government as interoperating branches says much about the condition of the constitution. as steve clemons says, "This administration is comfortable with hardball tactics, with re-writing the rules of government, and with undermining the delicate framework of checks and balances that are the core of American democracy."

the dogged support of bolton, particularly by vice president cheney, is completely in keeping with the clannish fraternity of interpersonal allegiance over all else -- including the rule of law -- which is the hallmark of the neoconservative movement. i would not only be unsurprised to see a recess appointment; i'd be unsurprised to see the adminitration expend massive amounts of political capital to see him through.

the washington note has assiduously chronicled the bolton nomination.

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