The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Sunday, April 24, 2005

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John Bolton's trouble in the Senate is a watershed moment of sorts. Originally, Democrats objected to his loathing for the U.N., on the grounds that it's a poor ambassador who openly seethes with disgust for the institution he has to negotiate with. And that was fine. Good point! But it suggested that the confirmation hearings were going to be dull and pompous. Things got interesting, and the Democrats gained traction, when the argument shifted from Bolton's opinions of the U.N. to Bolton's nasty-boss grandiosity. It is -- O happy day -- a real problem for Bolton
that he
"sought to remove two intelligence analysts who refused to endorse a speech he was preparing on Cuba's weapons capability."

"harassed [a former subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Kyrgyzstan] over work-related matters more than a decade ago"

"twice clashed angrily with Thomas Hubbard, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea."

"he was a 'kiss-up, kick-down' boss and a 'bully'"
And the list goes on and on of all the things ass-licking, irritating, selfish and impolite bullies usually get away with as they set their minds to climbing the corporate or bureaucratic ladder.

In case there was any doubt that Bolton is an asshole Scott McLellan (unwittingly) confirms it by using one of two classic arguments that office bullies use to rationalize their bullying "John Bolton is someone who has a long record of getting things done, and sometimes that's going to make people mad." The other rationalization, by the way, is "I speak my mind. Some people don't like that about me. But I think it's important. I don't have any time for people who beat around the bush."

I imagine that these confirmation hearings will be put to use to prove something about the divisiveness of American politics. But I also hope that they serve notice to the Napoleons of the office: The personal hurt you cause can harm you in the end. Those heads you stepped on on the way up can bite you, just when you're near the top, and when you have the longest way to fall.

And that means you: Fred McMurray in 'The Apartment'


P.S. A guy in USA Today makes the point that Bolton's problem was not being nasty like Fred MacMurray in 'The Apartment,' but being inefficiently nasty and insufficiently ruthless:
Dobson says one facet of the charges against Bolton that may be building opposition is that his alleged boorish behavior often failed to achieve results. "Part of this story for many people is that Bolton appears to have not been good enough to actually get rid of the people he went after," he says. "If he was a first-rate infighter, they'd be gone. Then people might say that, even if they disagreed with Bolton ideologically, that here's a guy who's tough enough to get the job done."