President Bush was within his rights Monday to install John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations by recess appointment.
Mr. Bolton, as we have noted before, would not have been our choice for this job. As a State Department official for the past several years, he has been a contentious figure who has made many enemies, a bureaucratic power player who has played for keeps. At a time when the United Nations is facing a momentous period of reform and fallout from the oil-for-food scandal, it would have been wiser to name someone more suitable to the post. Moreover, Democrats are correct in noting that Mr. Bolton, by dint of the recess appointment, will go to the United Nations under less than optimal conditions.
Mr. Bolton evidently has the president's confidence. Efforts to find factors that would disqualify him have proved less than overwhelming. He has, to be sure, crossed the line a few times in his behavior toward other officials. But most of the objections come down to his strong policy views and hard-charging style.
The use of the recess appointment shouldn't have been necessary. The confrontation having taken place, however, we can only hope that Mr. Bolton's tenure proves worthy of the stand Mr. Bush had to take to get him there.
-- Washington Post
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