Right Hook

John Bolton, king of the world! Plus: Karl Rove bootlegs Michael Moore, and James Dobson sees the Ku Klux Klan in the Supreme Court.

Topics: 2004 Elections, Supreme Court, United Nations, Michael Moore, Karl Rove,

Right Hook

For days now, conservatives have been rallying around President Bush’s nominee for U.N. ambassador, the man much noted for his admonition in 1994, “There is no such thing as the United Nations.” Since Monday, beneath trademark glasses and bushy mustache, John Bolton has flashed a softer, more diplomatic face during contentious Senate confirmation hearings. But his pundit supporters know better.

“It’s not a moment too soon for strong, effective — bold — American leadership at the United Nations,” wrote Heritage Foundation fellow Peter Brookes in Monday’s New York Post. “The world’s largest international institution is in serious need of some ‘tough love’ — and the smart money says John Bolton is the right man to give it … We need an ambassador in New York who can tangle with the increasingly powerful (and confident) Chinese, the ornery Russians and the (always) cranky French on the Security Council.”

While opponents argue Bolton is about as anti-U.N. as they come, Brookes thinks otherwise. Bolton’s criticisms of the institution, he says, “have always been inspired by the U.N.’s ideals — and therefore scathing about its corrupt reality.”

Brookes doesn’t go into what those “ideals” are, but his column is a primer on the double standard by which Bolton supporters measure the U.N. They maintain that its member nations should fall in line under American leadership — but when it comes to the institution’s failures, they see the U.N. as an entity separate from the U.S.

“The 191-member organization is reeling from revelations of rampant corruption in the Iraq Oil-for-Food program, and sexual abuses by its ‘peacekeepers’ in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Standing in the dark shadow of deadly inaction in Rwanda and Bosnia, the international body is also under fire for its failure to halt ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Sudan, and the ongoing Congo massacres. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan admits the organization stands in desperate need of reform. He has suggested some reform initiatives — but he’s on the verge of being tossed into the East River himself. The United Nations won’t achieve the reform it needs without strong, engaged American leadership. That’s where a rock-solid guy like John Bolton comes in.”

Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, who calls Bolton a friend from their days working together for the right-wing Project for the New American Century, agrees that Bolton is “an exceptional choice” for the post. He also has some intriguing thoughts about who is at the helm of the party opposing the nominee. “[Bolton] supports President Bush’s policies,” says Kristol, “and as undersecretary of state worked hard to advance them in the first term. So the Democratic party, led by George Soros and the New York Times, thinks he shouldn’t be permitted to continue to serve President Bush.”

Like Brookes, Kristol makes no mention of a U.S. role in past U.N. debacles, including the failure to act to stop genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s and in Darfur today. “Despite Soros’s millions and the Times’s resources,” Kristol continues, “the assault on Bolton has been pathetic. What does it amount to? He’s a longtime U.N. skeptic — appropriate, one would think, given the U.N.’s ‘Zionism is Racism’ history during the Cold War, and its ineffectiveness (to be kind) in Rwanda in the ’90s and in Sudan in this decade. But he’s worse than a skeptic, the critics say: He has been disrespectful of the august body in which he will represent us. Why, he once joked, ‘The Secretariat Building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.’ Well, truer words were never spoken.”

Steve Bowers, a blogger over at “Pardon My English,” takes issue with the Democrats’ “Borking” of Bolton (as in, Robert, the thwarted Supreme Court nominee). He laments their “systematic attempts to torpedo” the ideal strongman for the job.

“Personally, I think the best thing we could possibly do to the UN is take our land back (international territory, my ass) and throw the corrupt thugs the hell into the bay. But since that’s not going to happen, the UN at the very least needs major reform and who better to help bring about that reform than a known critic of this vaunted body of corrupt third-world despots? And Bolton’s suggestion that we eliminate the building (at least ten floors of it) is a good place to begin. We might end up with thousands of homeless diplomats and staffers roaming the streets of New York, but at least they wouldn’t be engaging in their usual conspiratorial U.S. bashing. And if we threw them out on the streets, their living conditions would be roughly similar to the living conditions of the citizens in 90% of their home countries. Actually better because they could at least beg for subsistence instead of scrabbling in the hard earth for beans.”

Bowers hits another talking point of Bolton supporters, a cost-benefit analysis that calls for a better return on investment, though is free of charge when things don’t go so smoothly. (And Bowers seems a bit confused about who in the game wields the “big stick.”)

“But seriously, as the supplier of 20 percent of the operating budget of the U.N., we aren’t getting our money’s worth,” he says. “If you gave your kid an allowance and your kid went out and badmouthed you in public, came home and lectured you about how to run your family, then beat you with a big stick and, despite it all, you still kept giving him money, you’d be pretty damn stupid. Well, aside from the beating with a big stick, that’s pretty much the situation the U.S. finds itself in with the U.N.”

Rove’s bootleg DVD collection?
In an excerpt from his new book, “The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy,” Byron York, a White House correspondent for National Review Online, makes a shocking accusation about filmmaker Michael Moore: that he’s a masterful hype artist. York digs deep into the box office numbers for “Fahrenheit 9/11″ and argues that Moore’s movie may not have had quite as big an impact on the voting populace as Moore claimed last fall.

What’s more intriguing, though, is the film’s apparent lack of impact on Karl Rove. York recounts lunching with Bush’s top political advisor last August, when he asked Rove if he thought “Fahrenheit 9/11″ would have an effect on the presidential race.

“‘It’s an artful piece of propaganda,’ Rove said.

“Was that all? Had he seen the picture?

“‘I plead guilty to violating the copyright laws of the United States by watching a bootleg DVD,’ Rove answered with a grin. ‘I refuse to enrich [Moore],’ he added, giving the clear impression that he had a rather low opinion of the filmmaker.”

Time for a bench burning
When he’s not busy crusading against spritely yellow cartoon characters, Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson devotes his spare time to going after Supreme Court judges. On his April 11 radio show, he chatted with fellow talk-show host Mark Levin, and pumped up Levin’s new book, “Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America.”

At one point, the discussion turned to the justices’ apparel, which Dobson deemed indicative of their true colors. Let’s go to the transcript:

DOBSON: Justice Scalia referred to his colleagues on the court as “black-robed masters.” Isn’t that incredible?

LEVIN: You know, it is incredible. I’m starting to think, just so we can knock them down a notch, Dr. Dobson, that they should be required again to wear those white-powdered wigs.


DOBSON: Well, I heard a minister talking the other day about the great injustice and evil of the men in white robes, the Ku Klux Klan that roamed the country in the South, and they did great wrong to civil rights and to morality, and now we have black-robed men, and that’s what you’re talking about.

In closing Dobson noted that the introduction to Levin’s book was written by fellow on-air journeyman Rush Limbaugh. As Dobson himself also said, “That ought to tell you something.”

- – - – - – - – - – - -

Read more of “Right Hook,” Salon’s weekly roundup of conservative commentary and analysis here.

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>