This is the stuff of nightmares right here:
Newt Gingrich received a standing ovation from the audience at a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting on Wednesday for promising to appoint John Bolton to be secretary of state if elected president.
The former House Speaker pledged to appoint Bolton, the controversial former ambassador to the United Nations for President George W. Bush, to the top diplomatic post if he were elected.
Gingrich added that the appointment would be contingent upon Bolton's agreement to help reform the State Department and overhaul the foreign service to replace it with a more "entrepreneurial" organization.
Blegh. The very thought makes me nauseated. I honestly thought that there was a part of Newt's brain that was panicking at being at the top of the polls, because it's fairly clear that he entered the race initially to pump up his book/media sales. If you looked at his campaign calendar up until this month, almost all of it consisted of book signings. He hadn't put in the infrastructure of campaign offices and he had a tough time keeping what little campaign infrastructure he had staffed. But now the ego side of Newt has taken over and he's already planning out his cabinet nominations, something that his target has already cautioned against.
But let's get past the hubris and etiquette faux pas of planning out one's cabinet before a single primary election has occurred and contemplate just how bad Secretary of State Bolton would be for the country. As Mark David Goldberg of the UN Dispatch says, it's really, really bad:
When left to his own devices, Bolton did, in fact, try to impose his hard-edge ideology on debates at the United Nations. He just did not get away with it because he still had to take orders from a Secretary of State (Condoleezza Rice) who was much more pragmatic than Bolton. In fact, when things got really bad Kofi Annan would telephone Rice and ask her to reign in Amb. Bolton. And she did. In December 2005, I reported out a good example of this dynamic:
For days, frantic negotiations on the substance of far-ranging UN reforms dragged on from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. But the one UN ambassador who generally arrived earliest and stayed latest always looked more upbeat than his bleary-eyed counterparts. “All night — all right!” quipped John Bolton to a press stakeout.
There was a reason for Bolton’s cheer: He was the man most responsible for the complexity of these negotiations. A month earlier, the newly minted, recess-appointed U.S. ambassador had sent negotiations into a tailspin when he submitted some 750 alterations to a 39-page text known as the “summit outcomes” document. Bolton’s most eye-popping suggestion at this summit, billed as a renewal of the UN’s 5-year-old pledge to help poor countries, was that all 14 references in the document to the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) be deleted.
The MDGs grew out of a global agreement on poverty eradication known as the Millennium Declaration, which was signed at a UN summit in September 2000. The “goals” that Bolton tried to nix include, among other things, reducing by half the number of people who live on less than a dollar a day — right now, 1.3 billion — by 2015. While the United States had never signed the agreement, the goals were never a target of Bush administration animus before Bolton came aboard.
Need another reason not to sit out the 2012 vote? This alone will drag the country back into the Dark Ages.