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I was startled this afternoon, when in a conversation with Chris Matthews on MSNBC's "Hardball," Democratic Senator-elect Claire McCaskill of Missouri, stated that she would consider confirming George W. Bush's contentious and slimy recess appointee, John Bolton, as United States' Ambassador to the United Nations.

We must hold our leaders' feet to the fire.  We must do everything possible to ensure that the actions of our elected representatives  IN OUR NAMES are in the best interest of the citizens of this nation and the citizens of the world.

With that notion in mind, I was startled this afternoon, when in a conversation with Chris Matthews on MSNBC's "Hardball," Democratic Senator-elect Claire McCaskill of Missouri, stated that she would consider confirming George W. Bush's contentious and slimy recess appointee, John Bolton, as United States' Ambassador to the United Nations.

To those of us who value the manner in which the United States is perceived globally, who have worked hard to restore our nation's  credibility at home and throughout the world, such an action by a newly elected Democratic Senator is unconscionable and irresponsible.

Here is an excerpt of the conversation that took place today on "Hardball."

MATTHEWS:      I have the first question for Senator-elect McCaskIll.  Senator McCaskill, should the United States Senate confirm the nomination of John Bolton to the United Nations?

McCASKILL:   Oh... yeah, probably.  You know I haven't had a chance to review all of Mr. Bolton's record, but I'm a believer that the President has certain picks that he's entitled to as long as I'm convinced that they are serious about beginning work on diplomacy.  Obviously that's been kind of AWOL in this administration... that emphasis on building alliances.  Now is the time to remain committed to the United Nations, not to withdraw.  I would want to get those assurances from Mr. Bolton and if he could give those assurances than I would probably be deferential to the President on this pick.

MATTHEWS:   Why would a leopard change his stripes?  What you just described is the opposite of John Bolton.

McCASKILL:    I understand that that is kind of his reputation but this is about what policy he's implementing at the United Nations.  If the President is supportive of the work of the United Nations and his appointee assures the Senate that he will be supportive of the President's support of the United Nations, then I would probably vote yes.  But I'd have some tough questions to ask just like you ask.

MATTHEWS:   But what do you think of neo-conservatives, the people who come into power and believe it's the job of the United States government not to protect this country, but their job, their mission, their messianic dream is to go around the world looking for governments they don't like and trying to democratize them by force and killing and blood and treasure, go into those countries, overturn the leadership and try to turn them into us.  Do you think that's the kind of person you want representing us to the world?

McCASKILL:  I think that is absolutely not what we want to be doing.  I've said many times in the campaign you don't build democracy at the barrel of a gun.  It has to come from the people that live in that country.  Ours is a glorious democracy because it came from the people of this country and it has to come from internally within the nation.  We are spreading ourselves way too thin militarily by trying to spread democracy at the barrel of a gun and we need to change course as it relates to that kind of policy.

Well, if Ms. McCaskill truly believes, "You don't build democracy at the barrel of a gun," why would she vote to send a pre-loaded barrel like Bolton to America's seat at the world's most visible table?  Is McCaskill somehow unaware of the negative baggage John Bolton brings to the United Nations whenever he enters the building?  A building he once vowed "one could lop off the top ten floors of and no one would know the difference"?

If our newly elected leaders are to change the image of the United States from an imperialist menace to a cooperative world partner, it is unfathomable that a responsible leader would elect John Bolton as emissary to the world's pre-eminent cooperative body.

As a patriotic American who has worked hard to change my nation from militaristic and imperialistic to cooperative and diplomatic, I call upon Senator-elect McCaskill to reconsider her leanings toward confirming John Bolton as United States' Ambassador to the United Nations.  It is Senator McCaskill's responsibility to this nation to promote its cooperative efforts within the United Nations and throughout the world.  It is not Senator McCaskill's charge to perpetuate America's bullying by endorsing a principal harbinger of American exceptionalism that has tarnished it so severely in the eyes of the world!

I call upon my fellow patriots to ask Senator-elect McCaskill to vote against John Bolton as United States Ambassador to the United Nations.  She may be reached by phone at: (816) 356-1659 and by email at

Originally posted to Linda Milazzo on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 08:16 PM PST.


How pro-active should we be with our newly elected officials?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hint (16+ / 0-)

    Senator McCaskill doesn't take office until January.

    By then, Bolton will have less of a chance than he does now.

    And Lincoln Chafee has already done in the appointment.

  •  I'm sure when she's had a chance to sleep (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryb2004, begone, DiesIrae

    and everyone gets to DC, she will fall in line.  My guess is that she is still shell shocked and exhausted.  Probably a moot point given that Chaffee won't support him.

  •  This was discussed earlier (10+ / 0-)

    I didn't think her comment, in context, indicated anything but a freshman Senator who had just finished with a bruising, exhausting campaign and wanted to not say something she might regret later.

    I did NOT get from that comment that she knowingly intends to confirm Bolton (if it even comes up for a vote).

    •  I hope you're right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and that it's not a sign of things to come.

    •  Claire... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Tired or not, if this is her viewpoint...

      I understand that that is kind of his reputation but this is about what policy he's implementing at the United Nations.  If the President is supportive of the work of the United Nations and his appointee assures the Senate that he will be supportive of the President's support of the United Nations, then I would probably vote yes.  But I'd have some tough questions to ask just like you ask.

      Sound like her eyes are not on the right thing period.  I'm tired too, but I can tell you in my sleep, and why, Bolton is not appropriate for the UN.  Her position appears to focus only on US support for the UN, which is really a non-issue anyway.

      Elections over... and it's no longer inappropriate to share doubts publically about the candidates.. and Claires comments caused some doubts.

      •  By all means... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ja of Anoroc, chingchongchinaman

        ...send her an email.  I'm not saying it's not appropriate to let her know what you think.

        But to date, I've seen nothing from her that would indicate she would knowingly support someone like Bolton.  She seemed, above all, to be saying she needed more information.  In essence, she punted the question (not in the best way, but even experienced politicians goof that up sometimes).

        All I'm saying is a bunch of outraged messages are probably misplaced.

        •  Absolutely... No sense in emailing her anyway... (0+ / 0-)

          She's got what... 40 days sill she takes office.

        •  The one thing about McCaskill (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gp39m, paige, Gorette, NearlyNormal

          is that she learns from her mistakes.  If she was going to make a mistake in communicating with the press on a subject she wasn't really prepared on, I'm glad she did it on an issue like this.  Bolton won't even come up for nomination so this whole thing is a non-issue.  BUT she will learn from this experience.  

          •  To support your excellent point... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            maryb2004, admiralh, Ja of Anoroc

            Claire McCaskill learns extremely well from her mistakes. When she ran for governor against Boy Blunt, she did most of her campaigning in St. Louis and KC - and got her ass royally kicked in the rural areas. This time around, running against NoTalent, she was a veritable fixture throughout the boonies. She didn't win any counties down here in the southwest corner, but she didn't get her ass kicked in any of them either, enabling KC to put her over the top. All the more engagingly, the woman flat out admitted her earlier mistake and apologized for it every time she appeared here. How could I not hit the pavement for a candidate like that?

            But who grants absolution
            For sins that never were committed?

            by gp39m on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:20:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      but she did exhibit the tendency to defer to the Prez.  IMHO, that's not good.  He doesn't deserve no deference!


      by Sally in SF on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 08:27:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course she will vote for Bolton (0+ / 0-)

      This is the single stupidest issue that people here care about.  Who the hell do you think George Bush is going to apoint to the UN?  Howard Dean?

      Of course he's going to appoint some right-wing nutjob.  Thats what we get for electing his punk ass.

      And Claire was right anyway; the president should get a good deal of deference concerning his picks for a foreign policy team.

      Cut Claire some slack.  She doesn't need to go in there picking fights on things that don't matter.  She represents MO not VT.  Let's save our fights for things that matter.

      "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

      by tmendoza on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:57:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not right, though. (0+ / 0-)

        "And Claire was right anyway; the president should get a good deal of deference concerning his picks for a foreign policy team."

        We need to change that.  The president should get a great deal of deference concerning his QUALIFIED picks for a foreign policy team.

        When we add qualified to that we see clearly that John Bolton should not be confirmed anymore than a certain ex-FEMA director should have been.  

        It is that meme of the president deserves.  He deserves nothing.  He has the responsibility of doing his job well.  He has clearly failed and therefore needs to be carefully supervised in all his choices.  

        ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

        by Rebecca on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:08:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No deference for Bush... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peace voter

          on ANY matter.  He doesn't deserve it.  He's been reckless on every level.  

          Don't tell me you're one of those who believes the President's the President and that's the end of that.

          Bush is an embarrassment to this country and to its citizens.  I want the world to know I understand that.  

          I don't want the world to belive I'm too damn stupid to understand the person in the Presidency is a ridiculous buffoon.

    •  An uneducated Freshman Senator (0+ / 0-)

      who apparently didn't watch one second of the Bolton hearings or read one sentence regarding his history or consider for even a minute the perception of the world should he be our representative to the UN.

      Sorry... but I expect a more learned response from a United States Senator.. freshman or not.  

    •  The operative word is (0+ / 0-)

      "knowingly"...  You say you don't think she would knowingly intend to confirm Bolton.  What does "knowingly" mean here?  Would she do it "accidentally"?  

      McCaskill's response to Matthews question on whether she would vote to confirm Bolton was without hesitation.  She answered immediately, "Oh yeah, probably."

      When Chris Matthews is taken aback by a response the way he was with McCaskill's... and tries to educate her about Bolton publicly on TV, there's a problem that shows a surprising lack of knowledge on the part of the interviewee... in this case a newly elected SENATOR!!  

      McCaskill, and all officials who haven't investigated an issue well enough to respond, need to be told to do their proper investigation... BY US!!!

      The Patriot Act went unread and foolishly passed in deference to the President.  A MAJOR MISTAKE!!  

      Information in Congress isn't properly digested and investigated before decisions are made.  That can't continue.  We must educate our leaders before they act, not lament their decisions long after.

  •  Doesn't matter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gottayo, begone

    As mentioned above, this won't get out of committee during the lame duck.  And during the 110th, there's nothing that will compel committee chairman Biden to even bring it up for a vote.

  •  already diaried (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paige, Gottayo, dem4evr, begone, MTmofo

    it's a non issue

    Carol Shea-Porter wins in NH-01! First Congresswoman from NH! NH goes totally Blue in State House and State Senate!

    by shpilk on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 08:24:15 PM PST

  •  Amen. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peace voter

    I was upset when I saw her interview with Chris Matthews tonight.  However, she's clearly willing to ascertain the facts, she's an attorney after all. But I was a little upset at her 'deference' to the Prez.  IMHO he doesn't deserve much deference and I hope she comes around.  But Biden has come out saying Bolton won't be confirmed and now that Chafee has come out against him, she may be a non-factor.  Besides, that would mean the confirmation would happen after the new congress critters are sworn in and I got the sense this was going to happen before the new congress convenes.  Am I wrong?  If so, how does Chafee factor in since he'll be gone?  


    by Sally in SF on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 08:26:31 PM PST

    •  She's in MO (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sally in SF

      so she has to give an answer that's appropriate for her (and my) state.

      There's enough of a military presense here that she's forced to say she will "defer to the president" unless she wants to be a one-termer.

      Remember though, she did say she would ask "hard questions". She's a former prosecutor and she was the state auditor, so I think she does know how to ask the hard questions.

      (-7.00, -5.18)
      Hopelessly pedantic since 1963.

      by admiralh on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:36:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  this should be obvious (0+ / 0-)

        but apparently people here think she should go in picking fights with the president.  claire barely won.   and the president does deserve deference on foreign policy.  let her wait for something important to pick a fight with bush, like a supreme court appointment.

        "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

        by tmendoza on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:00:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was in no way suggesting she (0+ / 0-)

          start picking fights with the president and I did not say that in my comment.  And to a degree I agree that the prez deserves deference on foreign policy, but IMHO this prez has shown he doesn't necessarily deserve that deference.  I completely understand that McCaskill has a different constituency and I have faith she will do what she believes is right and what is in the best interest of the people of MO and the country at large.  I'm just glad MO got a senator that will keep the people's interest in mind when she goes to Washington.

          We Need REGIME CHANGE

          by Sally in SF on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:51:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I understand that (0+ / 0-)

        And I know she will ask the hard questions.  I'm very grateful she was elected, don't misunderstand me.  I   know she's a former prosecutor and mentioned that in my post and I would expect her to ask the hard questions.  I wish her all the luck and I know she will represent MO well and I know she will not always be able to support the agenda I prefer.  That's politics - no one can ever fit the bill in all regards.  Congrats for getting a new Senator for MO who will keep its interests at heart.  

        We Need REGIME CHANGE

        by Sally in SF on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:45:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Let's all take a deep breath (5+ / 0-)

    Bolton is already a no go as per Chaffee. And as for our new freshman senators, and members of Congress, let's allow them a break, too. They can't actually do anything yet, anyway. I'm just too happy to get all steamed up about anything right now, and waiting to see what new surprises tomorrow brings.

    •  I appreciate your sentiments... (0+ / 0-)

      I really do.  But there's no honeymoon when you run for major political office.  You get elected and immediately held to account.  I want McCaskill and every elected official to understand that bad representation is NEVER an option.

      I can't vote for Bolton, pass legislation, impeach Bush, subpoena witnesses, hold hearings, etc., but I'm all over them nonetheless.  

  •  She'll never have to vote for him. (5+ / 0-)

    He won't even be nominated in the next congress.  bush knows that the lame duck session is the only chance he has for bolton.  Chaffee has killed that so there's no chance.  bush has to learn to moderate his nominees.  

  •  As A MO Resident IMO This Is A Non-Issue (7+ / 0-)

    Bush plans to give Bolton another recess appointment when the Congress adjourns somewhere around the 18th of December before Claire even takes office. I think she just misspoke somewhat on the show. Claire may not be the most progressive Senator but she is definitely a Dem team player.

    A lot of progressives contributed and worked for her election and she will hear from us quite a lot on the issues after she takes office. This is not something I plan to write to her about since I do not view it as an issue. Will save my chit for things that she will actually vote on.

    •  It is an issue... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peace voter

      Even if it doesn't come to a vote it indicates attitude and perception.  Bolton should not be considered under any circumstances... by McCaskill or anyone else!

      •  What it indicates is that she's probably (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        admiralh, Ja of Anoroc, MO Blue

        not given John Bolton much thought.  As I said in an earlier diary on this -- the MSM hasn't covered Bolton the way that Blogs have.  Blogs not only cover what he says and does but what his motivation is.  So we know much more about John Bolton than the average politically aware person in the US.

        The fact that she may not be up to speed on John Bolton is more an indication that John Bolton NEVER came up as an issue in Missouri during the campaign and certainly was not someone that she would have needed to focus deep attention on when she was state auditor.

        McCaskill answered inartfully -- I'm sure Russ Feingold would have said it better.  But it's nothing to panic about.  This doesn't indicate her attitude or her perception. Certainly if people want to e-mail her their opinions, go ahead. She's a freshman senator, she needs education.

        •  Not given Bolten much thought??!! (0+ / 0-)

          Okay....  there are 300 million people in America and 100 Senators.  I would think that the 100 senators should know a hell of a lot more about what goes on in Washington than the general population... at least as much as you and I.

          It's unconscionable that McCaskill wouldn't have paid attention to the Bolton hearings.  It's unbelievable that she would be unaware of the complaints about Bolton and the fact that the only reason he's in the United Nations now is because Bush pushed him in during a Congressional recess.

          I want to support McCaskill...  and I want her to be a good Senator... but apparently we also need to educate her.  

          The past two days have been our wake-up call.  Wake up to the fact that we need to get them to listen and learn and be accountable to we-the-people because their butts are now in WE-THE-PEOPLE'S HOUSE(S).

      •  Sorry Disagree Linda (0+ / 0-)

        First, I think everyone who is nominated for any position should be considered and throughly investigated as to their qualifications for that position. Giving someone a fair and through review (or consideration) is not the same as accepting them for that position. The current members of the Senate have already gone through the process of considering Bolton's qualifications and many have quite rightly IMO rejected his nomination based on their review. Claire has not gone through that process and will not have to since in January his confirmation will not be up for a vote.

        Second, I think it is a mistake to jump on a Senator elect for something that she is not going to vote on. By the time Claire receives my letter, she will know that she responded poorly to the question and also, that she is not going to vote on his nomination anyway. My writing to her about something that is not going to happen just makes me look like I am not knowledgeable about the subject. I would prefer to have my first letter to her on a issue be about something that is coming up for HER vote and that I look like I know what I am talking about.

  •  I wouldn't worry about it (0+ / 0-)

    This is going to be decided before she even reaches the Senate, and if it's not then it'll go nowhere under Democratic control, and even if it did, McCaskill would talk it over with the other Democratic Senators first and she's not going to stab them in the back.

    Give her a chance to get her sea legs. It's OK if freshmen Senators-elect say something inelegant here or there. January's soon enough to worry about how she votes.

    •  The point is... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peace voter

      remaining diligent... keeping them on their toes... holding them to account.  We must let our elected officials know we're watching every thing they do and when they're not appropriate, we need to be vocal about it.

      Again, it's as they say... "the thought that counts."...  stinking thinking, etc. etc. etc.  The type of attitude McCaskill displayed here can apply to other issues down the road.  If Bolton is a possibility for her then that sets off major alarms for me.  

      She's not elected to cajole Bush.  She's elected to control Bush.

  •  This will happen during the lame duck session (0+ / 0-)

    SInce Chafee is digging in his heels on this one and probably all the Dems will, plus other moderate Rs, Bush is going to have to come up with another name.  No more neocons for sure.  Maybe he should ask Lincoln Chafee if he wants the job?

    Winning without Delay.

    by ljm on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:06:32 PM PST

  •  Hold every Senator accountable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gp39m, Linda Milazzo

    No free passes, and no honeymoon period.  Our country has been gangraped repeatedly by the Repukes for six long years, and the time to stand firm is NOW.  We do NOT need any more deference to this criminal administration.

    That said, keep in mind that McCaskill is on record as saying that she would have voted to confirm Alito.  I'm sure nobody wants to hear this so soon after Election day, but it's not going to surprise me one bit if McCaskill turns out to be a complete DINO a la Landrieu, Salazar, and Lieberman.

    I support Wes Clark 2008. ------------------------- Oh yeah, and FUCK Joe Lieberman.

    by asskicking annie on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:18:49 PM PST

    •  Far be it from me (0+ / 0-)

      to argue with a pregnant lady, but Claire is no DINO. I'd say at most she would tend toward the Harold Ford type: saying shit that pisses liberal Dems like me off in order to be an electable Democrat in what is still a red state. As I explained up thread, she lost the gubernatorial campaign against Boy Blunt in large part because she got hammered in the rural areas. This time around she played up to the rural areas, like mine, and squeaked into the Senate.

      But who grants absolution
      For sins that never were committed?

      by gp39m on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:26:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you should get your facts right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      McCaskill never said she would vote for Alito in fact she said just the opposite for which she was criticized as being in the same camp as Howard Dean.

  •  I was stunned. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Milazzo

    I said out loud, "do you know anything about Bolton?"

    The country cannot afford to defer to this President.
    It speaks to the heart of what I want changed in DC.

    Having said all that, the Honorable McCaskill will not have to vote for/against Bolton. And if she did, I believe she would have understood her constituents' concerns and voted NO.

    •  Thanks for understanding (0+ / 0-)

      my point.  If McCaskill is ignorant about Bolton, that's unacceptable.  If she believes Bush has the right to appoint inappropriate representatives because he is president, that's unacceptable.

      And, yes, I know she'll likely never vote for or against Bolton.  But her belief that the President has the right to appoint inappropriate people tells me she's potentially light on oversight.  And oversight is what the Congress does (or should do)...

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