Helene Cooper rarely misses a chance to hammer Bush's foreign policy under the guise of a news story,as demonstrated inSaturday's "U.N. Post Will Test Bush On Pledge for Consensus." To interpret the headline the way the Times wants you to hear it: Bush will have broken his "pledge for consensus"if he insists on keeping John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"President Bush has pledged to be a bipartisan consensus builder now that Democrats are to control Congress, and since Wednesday he has made conciliatory gestures. The question now is whether Mr. Bush is ready to junk all of his make-nice pledges in order to keep John R. Bolton at the United Nations.
"Officially, administration officials say they plan to make all the necessary calls to Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to try to persuade them to confirm Mr. Bolton for a new term.
"'He has been extraordinarily effective up there at the U.N., and now is not the time to have a gap,' said Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman.
"But with the announcement on Thursday by Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island, that he would deny Republicans on the committee the last vote needed to send Mr. Bolton's nomination to the full Senate, some administration officials privately acknowledge that Mr. Bolton's chances of confirmation are 'nil,' one State Department official said.
"Mr. Chafee, who was defeated for re-election on Tuesday, said: 'The American people have spoken out against the president's agenda on a number of fronts, and presumably one of those is on foreign policy. And at this late stage in my term, I'm not going to endorse something the American people have spoken out against.'
"In this situation, the usual next step would be for Mr. Bolton to withdraw from consideration and for Mr. Bush to nominate a less polarizing candidate. Names that have been floated both inside and outside the administration include Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to Iraq; Philip D. Zelikow, the State Department counselor; Paula Dobriansky, under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs; and even Mr. Chafee."
John Podhoretz hada scathing rebuttal on "The Corner" at National Review Online:
"Who has made it impossible for John Bolton to be confirmed by the Senate? Lincoln Chafee. Who has recently said he may not remain a Republican notwithstanding the millions upon millions of dollars spent by the Republican party to retain his seat? Lincoln Chafee. Who, therefore, in the delusional estimation of a New York Times reporter, might be John Bolton's replacement at the U.N.? Lincoln Chafee! 'Names that have been floated both inside and outside the administration,' writes reporter Helene Cooper in a risible piece today, 'include Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to Iraq; Philip D. Zelikow, the State Department counselor; Paula Dobriansky, under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs; and even Mr. Chafee.'
"Next up: The New York Times suggests Karl Rove will be replaced by David Gergen."