Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Senate Democrats on Bolton Resignation

Realizing that he would go down in flames if he went before the full U.S. Senate for a vote, United Nations Ambassador John Bolton resigned yesterday and will step down after the recess appointment George W. Bush used to place him at the U.N. expires in early January.

Bush appointed Bolton in August of 2005 while the Congress was on break after it became obvious that even some Republicans were going to vote against the combative Bolton's confirmation to be America's chief diplomat at the U.N.

Here's some Senate reaction to the Bolton resignation:

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

“President Bush has made the right decision in accepting Ambassador Bolton’s resignation. Hopefully this change marks a shift from the failed go-it-alone strategies that have left America less safe. President Bush should now nominate a UN Ambassador who is ready and willing to work with our allies around the world, and who understands the pressing need to change course in Iraq.”

Chris Dodd (D-CT)

“I’m glad to see the Bush Administration has decided not to press Mr. Bolton’s nomination any further. I would encourage the Administration to put forward an individual who believes in diplomacy and has strong bipartisan support.

“From day one, I’ve had reservations about Mr. Bolton. The most fundamental reservation is rewarding someone who has done serious harm in attempting to skew intelligence at the very time when our nation needs careful and accurate information and analysis. That’s what Mr. Bolton did when he attempted to intimidate two U.S. intelligence analysts. In addition, I don’t understand how someone who disdains the UN as much as Mr. Bolton did and does can be an effective representative for U.S. interests in that international organization. I would hope that the President would select from a wide bench of qualified career diplomats or political appointees who are committed to pursuing diplomacy to advance U.S. interests.

Joe Biden (D-DE)

“It is unfortunate that the White House continues its false claim that consideration of Mr. Bolton’s nomination was blocked by Senate Democrats. In fact, Mr. Bolton did not have the votes to secure the recommendation of the Foreign Relations Committee under Republican leadership. Last year, Mr. Bolton did not receive a vote in the full Senate, not because of opposition to him, but because the Administration refused to provide the Senate with documents directly relevant to his nomination. These included National Security Agency intercepts Mr. Bolton asked to see in order to learn the identity of American citizens referenced in the intercepts.

“The President now has an opportunity to nominate an ambassador who can garner strong bipartisan and international support and effectively represent the interests of the United States at the United Nations at a time of extraordinary international challenge. If the President nominates such a person, I look forward to scheduling hearings promptly in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

"With Ambassador John Bolton’s resignation, President Bush has an opportunity to signal positive change in America's foreign policy. This is a chance for America to once again become a true leader in the world community, setting the stage for peace and stability for generations to come."

John Kerry (D-MA)

“Like Secretary Rumsfeld’s departure, Ambassador Bolton’s resignation offers a chance to turn the page at a critical period. With the Middle East on the verge of chaos and the nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea increasing, we need a United Nations ambassador who has the full support of Congress and can help rally the international community to tackle the serious threats we face.

"This is an opportunity for the President to appoint a United Nations ambassador who enjoys the support necessary to unite our country and the world and who can put results ahead of ideology. There are many qualified candidates from across the political spectrum with the respect and experience necessary to be effective in this crucial post. The President should act quickly to nominate a United Nations Ambassador who can be confirmed with broad bipartisan support.”

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

"With Ambassador Bolton's resignation today, I hope that we can now put to an end the divisive debate over his background and move forward with a nominee that represents the effective diplomacy needed to advance America's interests and foster better relationships around the world."

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

“John Bolton has been a divisive figure and a cheerleader for the White House’s ‘stay the course’ approach to the disastrous war in Iraq. His legacy is part and parcel with the squandered opportunities, mismanagement and flawed policies that produced and that have worsened the debacle there.

Our past role as a leader and consensus-builder has been damaged, minimizing our ability to act on a wide variety of matters that are important to our interests and to our security around the world. We face a lengthening list of pressing issues that require careful, constructive and collaborative solutions, and it is time for a new voice and a new direction for us at the United Nations.”