Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Tale of Two Johns

The deed is done – in spite of a five-month long, unconstitutional filibuster, John Bolton was appointed as US Ambassador to the United Nations. Bush wasted no time in making the appointment – it came at 10.00 AM Eastern time on August 2nd , or exactly one hour after the Senate summer recess began. Not surprisingly, his Democratic critics in the Senate broke from their vacation to blast the move. Leading the charge was Ted Kennedy:

"It's bad enough that the administration stonewalled the Senate by refusing to disclose documents highly relevant to the Bolton nomination," he said. "It's even worse for the administration to abuse the recess appointment power by making the appointment while Congress is in this five-week recess."

Bolton’s nomination was impeded by, among other things, allegations that he is too harsh and abrasive for the position. The Senate Democrats presumably would have given a mellower presence more consideration.

Or would they? Let’s segue to the upcoming confirmation hearings of John Roberts to the US Supreme Court. Roberts is well known and well liked by the Beltway crowd, not a recluse like Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas. If being nice is a litmus test, Roberts should have clear sailing.

Not so fast. According to Reg Henry, the’ niceness’ of Roberts is unnerving:

Another problem in opposing Judge Roberts is that, from all reports, he is a genuinely nice guy, affable, cheerful, sunny and smart.

Did I say he was nice? Whenever he goes for a walk in the park, puppy dogs strain their leashes wanting to rush up and nuzzle him. Of course, he walks in a shaft of sunlight, even on rainy days. Bluebirds seek to land on his head. Why, he’s so darn nice that bums in the park stop to give him money, so touched are they by his modesty and cheerful demeanor.

Apparently, he has been a paragon all his life. He was a model student who was always awake in class, was unfailingly conscientious and did his homework without complaint. I don’t know about you, but I hated people like that when I was in school. If you ask me, someone should have punched him in the nose for making the rest of the class look bad.

I would humbly submit that we should take a closer look at his preternatural niceness. It seems a little too nice to be nice. His behavior raises serious questions about whether he is a sly conservative.

I say this because I am regularly in touch with true believers on the right.

They like to send me e-mails brimming with disgust and bile but delivered with a happy, sanctimonious air. This talent for vileness has led me to form the impression– perhaps erroneous– that to be a conservative is to be a bag of resentments held together by a feeble string.

So there you have it. If a conservative fits the liberal stereotype of being a "bag of resentments", like John Bolton, he is to be rejected because he is too mean. But when he doesn’t fit the stereotype, like John Roberts, he is to be rejected because he is – too nice???

Moral: The Democrats stonewall Republican nominees because Republicans nominate them. Any other reason is a fig leaf.

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