A familiar Kennedy theme


Sen. Edward Kennedy's reaction to President Bush's recess appointment of John Bolton as United States ambassador to the United Nations was typical and not surprising:

"The abuse of power and the cloak of secrecy from the White House continues. It's a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton's credibility at the U.N."

Everything has been said that needs to be said about this recess appointment. It's Constitutional, it's sound and it is no different than what any other President has done before or will do in the future. In addition, a majority of Senators were prepared to vote in favor of Bolton should his nomination have reached a yea or nay vote. That it did not is not the fault of the executive. It is the unprecedented and unprincipled actions of a minority of Senators who look upon elections and majorities with disdain when they are not favorable to themselves.

But a question to Sen. Kennedy regarding cloaks of secrecy and personal wars from the White House: Does the name Ngo Dinh Diem mean anything to you, Senator?

Please, Senator. Enough is enough. Everyone understands your insatiable desire to undercut this President of the United States at every turn, to call him names and obstruct anything constructive he attempts. It's politics and hardball and all that and most people see it for what it is. Everyone understands the delusions the Democratic Party is under these days— that the President stole two elections, he "cooked up the war in Crawford," and the mere act of his getting out of bed in the morning or exercising every day is a high crime and misdemeanor to you people.

But enough of your endless characterizations of this White House as a den of cloak and dagger activities, a war room of illegal wars and illicit actions that trample upon the Constitution and the "American Way" that your weak and murky worldview has now foisted on level—headed supporters of the Democratic Party.

Someone might have the audacity to mention the name Diem to you. Someone might have the gall to shout "Bay of Pigs" within earshot of you. Someone might bring up the wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr. Someone might say the blueprint for shadowy tactics of the executive undercutting the Constitution in the last half of the 20th century began not with Watergate, but with the administrations of the 35th and 36th Presidents.

Abuse of power is a strong phrase and one that resonates with haberdashers that buy Reynolds Wrap in bulk and Florsheim stores that recycle editions of the Times in the slipper section. It is good grist for the crazy mill indeed.

But it comes nowhere close to accurately describing the Bush White House. There was no "there" there with Karl Rove and Valerie Plame and the Bolton nomination is Constitutional, legal and the correct response of the executive when the legislature fails to act. When the United Nations fails to enforce its own resolutions and agreements, the United States must act. Men of action get things done. Men of ineptitude call names and throw muck on the wall to see what sticks.

You know a lot about the executive's abuse of power, Senator. But when you start rambling on about that subject, keep it closer to home next time.   

Matt May   8 02 05