As I hope readers of Inkwell know, rudeness is not something we endorse.


Yet it does seem odd, as a piece on Tech Central Station points out, that John Bolton is being called unfit to be U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. because…he?s rude, a character trait that is, alas, endemic to Washington.


“In his memoirs,” writes TCS?s Pejman Yousefzadeh, “George Stephanopoulos revealed that resident Clinton was subject to ’purple rages’ and that Stephanopoulos oftentimes felt that his job was to get yelled at by the President in the morning so that the President would not go through the entire day angry. Bob Woodward?s The Agenda reveals that upon hearing of a staffer?s mistake in preparing advance work during the 1992 presidential campaign, then-Governor Clinton remarked in a white-hot rage that ’I want him [the staffer] dead, dead. I want him killed. I want him horsewhipped.’ When informed by then-Senator Bob Kerrey that Clinton would not have Kerrey?s vote for the 1993 economic package, Clinton screamed into the phone ’f— you!’ and then slammed it down.”


The rudeness complaint, TCS points out, isn?t the only odd one against Mr. Bolton–it?s also said of Bolton that he is a “kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy,” which means that he sucks up to those above him, while being mean to those below him in the hierarchy.


“Interestingly enough,” notes TCS, “such allegations are concurrent with charges that Bolton ’holds many strong views that diverge sharply from current U.S. policy.’ One cannot help but wonder how it is that Bolton supposedly ?kisses-up? to his superiors while at the same time supposedly ’diverg[ing] sharply’ from official policy — policy that is set by those superiors….”


Speaking of fierce battles on Capitol Hill, battles like the one raging around John Bolton, E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post had an interesting column on the subject today:


“The partisan battles in the coming weeks — on judges, Social Security and the future of Tom DeLay — are part of a larger struggle in which Republicans are seeking to establish themselves as the dominant party in American politics. Essential to their quest is persuading Democrats, or at least a significant number in their ranks, to accept long-term minority status.
 
“The current acrimony in politics is incomprehensible unless it is understood as the inevitable next act of a long-term struggle. Its ferocity arises from the Democrats? refusal to accept the role assigned them by their opponents….”


Note to E.J.: It was the voters, not their GOP counterparts on Capitol Hill, who assigned the Democrats minority status.


The voters will have a chance to comment again at the mid-term elections, and we?ll learn how well the ferocity and obstructionism are playing beyond the Beltway.