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Bolton’s Army

Unrest in the ranks over what's been done to him. Plus: Rat Voinovich. Reactions to Ratzinger. Plus much more.

4.22.05

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REPUBLICAN REVOLT
Re: The Prowler's Botching Bolton:

I don't get the Republicans lately. They win another election and they are running scared. Why do so many Republicans find it necessary to be nice to Democrats and the media? Don't they ever learn that no matter what they are still going to get shellacked? It's time Republicans went on the offensive and point out every little flaw, contradiction, lie, etc., coming from the Democrats. It's time the Republican Party started taking its talking points from Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, The American Spectator and National Review. Clearly, they are unable to do the job themselves!!
-- John Dyslin
Streamwood, Illinois

It's simultaneously amusing and appalling to see the Republicans' bumbling behavior about and management of everything they've touched since the inauguration. It's becoming more apparent as they unravel -- and they are surely and quickly -- that they lack the grit and loyalty to speak with one voice and govern. As much as I hate to say this, I think the Democrats outmatch them.

Don't the elephants understand that conservatives, as well as some of their own, are very disappointed in the majority's to-date performance? If GOP botches Social Security and doesn't handle immigration favorably, 2006 and 2008 elections could be nightmarish for the party, regardless of what transpires in Iraq and with the economy.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Whoever is "The Prowler" seems more concerned with what is happening to people in the Republican Party and what a failure of the Bolton nomination will mean to Bush and his minions than they are about how such a distasteful and wrongful attempt to appoint such a man who would affect the UN and world conditions. If it is true that the UN needs a remake, Bolton is not the man to do it. There are too many accusations that ring true, especially those of Mr. Ford. The Democrats on the committee and those Republicans who have doubts seem to be thoughtful and concerned about the UN and its future. The rest of this motley bunch just wants someone at the UN who will throw around American power, threaten, bully, insult, and act like he is God.
-- MPM

I watch the Republican Party with unabashed amazement. What the heck is going on in Congress? The Republican Party is in control of the White House and both the House and Senate. And they seem to be unable to advance any of their agenda.

Look at the leadership, or lack of it, in Congress. First they grant Arlen Specter the Chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee even after his remarks concerning judicial appointments and his appointment of a Democratic operative to the majority staff. Senators Lugar and Hagel seem unable to control the Republican members of their committee and have possibly lost the confirmation of John Bolton. Senator Frist seems to be a marginal leader at best. The most effective Republican in a leadership role is Representative Tom Delay, which, considering the baggage he is carrying, is kind of scary when you think about it.

This party has just come off of a major victory at the polls and have done virtually nothing but shoot themselves in the foot since. If they don't get their act together soon, there is likely to be a Democratic majority in Congress again and a Democratic White House as well. And if the Republicans think that a Democratic majority is going to be as kind, gentle and compassionate as the Republicans are, then they haven't studied recent history.

It is high time for the Republican leadership in this country to start kicking some membership butt and start presenting a unified front. They should also lose the attitude that they are going to be in the minority again or they surely will be.

A winner wins even when he loses, but a loser is always a loser.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

I heard Biden's peroration on John Bolton on the radio today.

It may concern Joe Biden that bureaucrats were upset when Mr. Bolton was -- allegedly -- getting in their "back yards." What I am concerned about is that the bureaucrats were clueless when the bad guys were coming into OUR back yard.

I do not favor an abusive style, but if I have to choose, I choose the person who is committed to the mission over the one who is committed to the norms of bureaucratic procedure. And what is all this whining anyway? As Harry Truman said, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

We -- the public -- have been polite about 9/11 because we all want to pull together. But, we don't forget that the bureaucracy FAILED the country on 9/11 -- the State Department failed; the intelligence community failed; the policy formulators failed. They laid us open to attack. Our friends, family, lovers, countrymen were offered the choice of jumping to their deaths or roasting alive. It is only due to the courage of the passengers on Flight 93 that the Capitol itself is not a smoking ruin.

Biden thinks the preeminent quality in a nominee is to go along to get along. But that has lead to tremendous, historic failure. I want someone who will NOT observe the procedures of failure -- will NOT "stay out of bureaucratic "back yards" -- but instead will pursue the mission ferociously.

We are at war. We need the John Boltons. I want George Patton in charge of the Third Army. Biden wants to protect bureaucratic failure... which can lead to defeat. How serious are we about winning this war?
-- Greg Richards

One word describes the Republicans of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in their dealing with John Bolton -- "Pusillanimous!!"

A pure and simple indictment of the current Republican majority and the basic reason the Democrats have no political fear in so dealing with them.
-- Kenneth E. Wyman

Do I get this right? John Bolton is not suitable to serve as UN ambassador because he raised his voice and wagged a finger at another government worker; isn't this exactly what Senators Biden and Dodd did during Tuesday's hearing, when they yelled and shouted at the spineless Republican committee members who managed barely audible answers to the lengthy tirades?
-- Russ Hugi
Belmont, California

Wednesday after watching C-Span and the Bolton debacle, I wrote two letters. One to my senator, Mitch McConnell, and one to Senator Bill Frist. In those letters I said that, I contribute to the party, I work for the party AND I vote. I will do none of these things in 2006 if someone in the Republican leadership of the Senate does not grow a "set of b---s".

I want two things done: Get a handle on the Bolton nomination and fix it! And two, bring up the rule-change on filibustering judicial nominees. If you lose, at least you go down swinging.

The Senate leadership wanted the voters to give them a majority; we did it. Now, boys, it is time to start acting like you ARE the majority!
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

Fix it? First, the GOP has to get some backbone, something that has never been easy for them to do when the Democrats start "yelling" at them. Their backbones turn to jelly. Second, someone needs to tell the GOP they're the MAJORITY party. Third, those members of the GOP, Hagel, Voinovich and others need to be made to pay for siding with the Democrats. Fourth, Frist is toast. I could go on, but what's the use?
-- Ray Rinaldi
Waymart, Pennsylvania

The Republican Party (you know, the one with an ideologically consistent foundation, the office of president, and the majority of the seats in both houses of Congress) is wavering in the face of a shrill, unprincipled, and intellectually bankrupt movement that is finding it increasingly difficult to muster nationwide majority support on a single issue. I happen to believe the president's reserve and immeasurable class have restored the dignity of the office and, in spite of the rubbish spewed from tired, old, envious cultures elsewhere, the seriousness with which the rest of the world regards what we see as our interests. I have sympathized with his desire to avoid the more public forms of partisanship leaving that to those whose positions are more suited to the work. However, I think there comes a time when the general has to ride into the fray, rally the troops, reform the line, and press the natural advantage of having a clear leader at the head of a relatively well-organized political force.

I realize that we are a nation at war, that the price of gas is staying persistently high, and that there may exist exigent matters about which I and the rest of the public know nothing. However, very little of that will matter if a weak and demoralized opposition with the assistance of our less presentable members (if-you-know-what-I-mean-and-I-think-you-do) is able to regain the initiative by boldly and very publicly blocking the president's nominations to the UN and the various judicial benches and, using the resulting momentum, stymieing all other Republican initiatives until they themselves regain power. There is only one person who can, individually, apply more heat to the opposition than the entire Republican Congressional Caucus. He happens, also, to be the one individual in the party that can single-handedly make the price of dissent, however "principled," rise in proportion to its cost to the party.

I am sure the president and his advisers know how best to project the power of the office; but my spirits sink as I watch good people torn apart by rabid partisans and by the weaker spirits among us seeking to distinguish themselves by wounding their fellows hoping, pitifully, to be thought well of by those whose opinions seem to matter. I do not know the emphasis Bush places on his legacy and would not blame him for not thinking of it at all. In fact, I think that happens to fit very well with his style and temperament. Nevertheless, I do know he has a sincere vision for the country, a future that is delayed by obstruction and hyperbole generated by a know-nothing minority in a do-nothing party with a believe-nothing leadership.

I am confident our truths will eventually overcome the left, or rather they will be defeated by their lack of anything resembling them. Whether Bush's successor comes in a shade of red or blue, whether he is able to place a good judge or two on the Supreme Court, whether we solve the problem of Social Security in this decade or the next, conservatism will succeed. But why wait? Let us press the advantage. I believe we hold the morally superior ground right now. I know the front lines are messy and dangerous but sometimes the leader has to take the point and the peril that comes with it.
-- Lee Franks

Let's see...three more weeks with no UN representative. I don't think anyone would notice. In which case, if Bolton is not confirmed, the white house should just leave the position empty. Then hold our payments because we don't have a representative. Sounds good to me.
-- Glenn Diehl
Chicago, Illinois

SENATOR V
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell's Voinovich's Spasm:

RET's commentary on Senator George Voinovich's "spas-out" over Bush nominee John Bolton couldn't be more appropriate. Having lived my entire life in NE Ohio, I have supported Voinovich for mayor of Cleveland (where he had to repair the damage caused during Dennis Kucinich's horrible stint as mayor), governor of Ohio, and senator from this state. However, his time in Washington has caused him to become more of a RINO, as he, along with other stellar GOP members like John McCain, apparently has spent too much time at those cocktail parties hosted by the Capitol Hill liberals. One news report indicated that Senator V was led to this decision on Mr. Bolton by "the Holy Spirit." Well, I don't know what "spirit" led to this conclusion on the part of the good Senator, but it certainly isn't "holy" from where I sit. This country is in desperate need of a Jeane Kirkpatrick-type at the corruption-ridden UN as opposed to some limp-wristed milksop that the Democrats would prefer we have. I have expressed my displeasure to Senator Voinovich via e-mail and I hope others from Ohio will do the same. I can see that my support for Senator from Ohio will go elsewhere when election time rolls around again, unless "V" has a sudden enlightenment from "the Holy Spirit."
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

R. Emmett Tyrrell has a lot of nerve giving advice to Senator Voinovich, and especially advice having to do with conscience. Mr. Tyrade Tyrrell has shown over the years that he has no conscience by harassing and haranguing the American populace with narrow views and even more narrow vision -- all wrong.
-- MPM

"Moreover, he is an artless blowhard." Well said. I can't explain why -- but this made me laugh out loud for several minutes, and then indulge in a smug grin for the rest of my workday. Thank you.
-- Russell K. Irish

NEW McCARTHYISM
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Letter Perfect:

Thank you for the "Letter Perfect" article -- this should generate an outcry by government officials and the public at large, but, of course, it won't. We will be distracted by John Bolton's "terrible" behavior to underlings instead.

I think the tipping point in losing our freedom may have already been reached. People can't remain free if they aren't given the truth by our major media. Again, thank you for your courageous witness. I have sent your link to my conservative friends alerting them to the final five paragraphs.
-- Margaret McCarthy

Attempting to replicate Signor Pleszczynski's search to find in the media "respectful reactions" to the election of Pope Benedict XVI, I turned to that tower of tolerance: Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. Mr. Cohen is not one who disappoints: his advice, nay, his bearing, in this matter shows that he, along with St. Thomas More, is - "omnium horarum" -- a man for all seasons.

Mr. Cohen, it must be said, is consistent: he believed, along with those who scrutinize other people's religious beliefs, that the release of the movie The Passion of the Christ would begin a series of pogroms in Pittsburgh. When no such event occurred, well, it was just luck, you see. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. (For those of a certain age: The Shadow does.)

Mr. Cohen openly proclaims that Benedict XVI is not his "cup of tea." Relying on his clairvoyant powers, divinely inspired, no doubt, Mr. Cohen opines that the pontiff believes that homosexuals are "an abomination." And, of course, Mr. Cohen steadfastly resists "...Benedict's conviction that Catholicism is the one true belief." Well, that settles that: the presence of disagreement establishes the absence of truth! But there is hope for the despondent: The Post and all the media outlets will be summoning their darlings - the Drinans, Carrolls, McBriens, Wills and Kisslings - for Cohen's hope rests with "Catholic dissidents," although "...there are fewer than there used to be." Pity, that.

Despite this obtuseness, Mr. Cohen says, emphatically, that Benedict's election is his business. What unadulterated chutzpah! There was a time when criticizing the selection of a pope was discussed quietly amongst non-Catholics with a degree of discretion. It is indicative in this age of tolerance that, despite the passing of generations, "anti-Catholicism is (still) the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals."

Mr. Cohen would like nothing better than to see the Catholic Church be "...like their brethren in the liberal Protestant churches..." I find that very suggestion appalling. Why, pray tell, should Mr. Cohen, who is totally adverse to any of the teachings of the Church, care one whit about the future of the Church? Unless, of course, he, too, would like nothing more than to see it disappear. If so, then Mr. Cohen is desperately deficient in the virtue of Christian charity.

There is hope, given his earliest statements and homily, that Benedict XVI will take an active role as the Vicar of Christ and move the Church in the right direction. Such activity will, surely, continue to be "worrisome" to the likes of Mr. Cohen.
-- Vincent Chiarello
Reston, Virginia

Many secularists are uncomfortable when men and women in public service say things like "In God we trust" or "God bless America" or "one nation, under God." Some say this is saying that we believe God is on our side and we can do as we please. I take it to mean that no matter how strong our economy, how powerful our military, and how dynamic our leaders, there is a Higher Power granting all these things and having the power to take them all away.

The media seems to be approaching the election of Pope Benedict as the appointment of one of President Bush's more controversial appointments. I am surprised Ralph Neas hasn't gotten more airtime. Everyone seems to be acting like the actions of the Conclave need to be confirmed by the United States Senate.

It doesn't matter what Joe Biden, a Catholic sister out in Arizona, Andrew Sullivan, Peter Jennings, and "the man-in-the-street" think about Pope Benedict. He is the leader of an organization that, shall we say, has a much wider global reach than the United States, and this organization, with its power and glory, virtues and faults, is also answerable to the Almighty.
-- Paul Milenkovic
Madison, Wisconsin

As a Protestant Christian, with numerous Catholic relatives, I follow Church events quite closely.

While I may have serious theological differences myself with the Church, I feel that a strong vital Catholic Church is imperative for our defense of Western Civilization.

Unfortunately what many Conservatives, {political and theological} overlook is the lack of interest by the hierarchy of the Church in solving some serious scandals within the Church. The most recent of course, is the problem of pedophilia among the clergy. Underscoring this point is the presence of Cardinal Law at the Vatican. I am sure anti-Catholic bigots are most pleased with this.

Now there is a new Pope who is an ex-Hitler youth, with a vague World War II service record. No doubt there were other conservative theologians that could have filled the bill, without the baggage.

As a Church which uses symbolism constantly what symbolism are we to conclude from the above two points?

Finally, as a non-Catholic I respect strongly men such as John Paul II because they were CATHOLIC and CREDIBLE.

Unfortunately the key issue facing the Church is institutional credibility. All the great theology in the world is pointless if many of your clerics might be perceived as either indifferent to moral degeneracy or actual degenerates.

It is in everyone's interest here in the West that the Roman Catholic Church restores its institutional credibility.
-- Dana Payne
Minneapolis, Minnesota

REFORMING BY CONSERVING
Re: George Neumayr's God Is My Pilot, "Church Matters" letters in Reader Mail's Religious Feasts, "Not the Marrying Kind?" letters in Reader Mail's Orthodox Positions, Vincent Chiarello's letter ("Meaning No Disrespect") in Reader Mail's Audience Participation, and Jeremy Lott's Don't Let Them Marry:

Mr. Thompson would be well served to read a Catholic source for a definition of Papal Infallibility. It does not mean the Holy Father is indefectible (incapable of committing sin), nor does it mean that every pronouncement of the Holy Father is free of error, just those which concern faith and morals, meet certain criteria and are pronounced Ex Cathedra ('From the Chair' of St. Peter). The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is Divinely founded and indefectible, but has always been populated by imperfect humans with free will and an inclination to sin and corruption (not a home for saints, but a hospital for sinners). Our Lord promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, which assures us that the Holy See will be preserved from error when instructing the faithful on matters of faith and morals, even if certain members abuse their position under the color of Church authority. While Martin Luther may not have had marriage as his primary aim for protesting abuses by certain members of the clergy, he did see fit to cast aside the sacred vow of chastity which he made to God, in addition to 'finding' novel doctrines concerning salvation and justification after breaking away from the Church.

Like Fr. Lockwood, I too am a convert (lay) who follows the Church's teachings on sexuality. Prior to the Lambeth Conference circa 1930, every Christian sect mirrored the Catholic Church's stand against artificial contraception. The capitulation by the Anglican Church to allow contraception "under rare circumstances" quickly led to a domino effect throughout virtually every other protestant sect, evolving into the prurient, post-modern secular worldview espoused by the likes of Mr. Hogue. I am grateful for the Church's continued stand against 'popular practices,' and for priests and religious who courageously and vocally defend Her timeless teachings.
-- Jerry Rushing
Corpus Christi, Texas

Regarding the letter from V. Pierce in response to Jeremy Lott's article of 19 April, Miss Pierce is incorrect when she states that, like priests in the Anglican-Episcopal church, Eastern Orthodox (and by extension, Eastern Catholic) priests "have always been allowed to marry." In fact, while the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic Churches have always maintained the institution of married priesthood, they have done so by ordaining married men to the priesthood, and prohibit men from marrying after ordination to the diaconate. This rule was established by the Quinisextunct Council in Trullo (694), which also passed the rule that bishops must be ordained from among the monastic clergy. The reasoning of the Council was the requirement for maturity and stability in a priest (a requirement spelled out in Paul's instructions to his disciple Timothy)--and nothing is less mature or stable than a man in search of a mate. In the 1920s, the Soviet-sponsored Popular Church (an attempt to restructure the Russian Orthodox Church along lines more amenable to Communism) began allowing priests to marry after ordination. However, this was condemned by both a pan-Orthodox council and later by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church itself. So the rule remains intact: married men may be ordained, but ordained men may not marry. Most certainly, unlike the Episcopal Church, we do not allow the ordination of divorced and remarried men, nor do we allow men who have been widowed to remarry.
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

Oops. Sorry if you misconstrued my last sentence in the last posting I had. It wasn't meant to be a "cheap shot" at Martin Luther. I am well aware of his legacy and his dissent with the church. The statement was merely a reflection on the issue of priests marrying which I consider a non-issue really. If you took offense, then I failed in my attempt to illustrate a point. For that I humbly beg your pardon.
-- Pete Chagnon

Bruce Thompson apparently does not know that Luther lived in the 16th century and Vatican I (excesses??) were in the 19th century. He does not know the difference between impeccability (not sinning) and infallibility (not making an error -- about important truth). Perhaps he is not aware that Luther was not scandalized by the wealth of the Vatican and that there is a Lutheran Church in Berlin that is modeled on St. Peter's Basilica.

J.R. Wheatley should have said that a Jesuit told Clinton that he should consider becoming a priest; he thought Clinton was a Catholic already.

V. Pierce should know that the scandal that bankrupted the Episcopal Church in Canada did not involve adults, but boys. The rate of pedophilia among the Catholic clergy is the same as in the general population. Despite denials by some, males who practice pedophilia with boys are on a continuum with homosexuals.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

All I can say to Mr. Neumayr's article is YES! YES! YES!

I was sort of pulling for some of the other candidates, hoping to shake things up. Cardinal Ratzinger seemed like the easy choice, just the one whose turn it is. Of course, as a person of partial Bavarian heritage I was proud of the choice, nevertheless.

But now I am coming to hope that this new Pope may shake things up like no one else could have. Coming unbidden to me is a great hope for Pope Benedict XVI and for the world.

Because if we do not reject the path of self-indulgence we've been on for a generation we truly are doomed. And the new Pope knows this and will not fear to say it. Over and over again. Repeat as needed.

God bless you all at the Spectator, God aid the new Pope, and God save the world, because left to our own devices we'll surely turn it into the burning, hurtling ball of ash the atheists would have us believe it only really is, in the beginning and in the end.
-- Jessica O'Connor
Bayonne, New Jersey

ONE HOLY CATHOLIC
Re: John Tabin's Ratzinger and the Jews:

"Lerner seems to think Jews should be deeply worried that the Pope believes exclusively in Christianityâ€"that he 'publicly critiques all those inside the Church who are tolerant enough to think that other religions may have equal validity as a path to God.' This, in Lerner's mind, is 'a slippery slope toward anti-Semitism...'"

Oh, please. Shmegegi Lerner should sit down, take a few deep breaths and get a serious grip on reality.

Pope Benedict XVI had better believe in the exclusivity of Christ. If not, he would not be a Christian. Thank God, the new pope won't distort the Gospels of Jesus, who we Christians believe is the true, single pathway to God.

Lerner's insinuation that the new pope's election is anti-Semitic is pure meshugass. Christians remain friends of Jews. Perhaps Lerner and Jews of his paranoid ilk should focus on non-Christians, including secularists and particularly Muslims, who truly endanger Judaism.

Christians and Jews share theological commonality through Yahweh or Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And we do not forget that our and the world's Savior -- Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, or Jesus the Messiah, who is the Son of David as well as Son of Godâ€"was once a Jewish carpenter.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

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