Live from Fort Lauderdale

Yesterday afternoon I got the chance to chat with former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton at the reception for National Review’s post-election cruise kickoff event featuring him, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in Fort Lauderdale preceding our departure this afternoon. I was slightly happy to see him (photo below) and he could not have been more gracious. We discussed the work of his John Bolton PAC and the John Bolton Super PAC in the mid-term elections this past Tuesday. He believes that Republicans are returning to their role as the party of national security. If Republicans aren’t that party, he observed, we don’t have one.

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There are few men in public life I admire more than John Bolton. I am grateful for his successful work in the administration of the first President Bush to overturn the UN’s vile “Zionism is a form of racism” resolution. (See pages 40-43 of his memoir, Surrender Is Not an Option.) He gracefully suffered the Democrats’ remorseless campaign of defamation against him to prevent his confirmation as our ambassador to the United Nations upon his appointment by the second President Bush. (I wrote about the role of the New York Times in this campaign at the time in “Déjà vu, all over again.”) He provided stalwart representation of the United States at the United Nations following his recess appointment as our UN ambassador by the second President Bush. I’ve said these things here before but I want to seize the opportunity to reiterate them now.

Rich Lowry and Jay Nordlinger ably led the discussion at the event following the reception. Bolton, Cruz and Rubio were all impressive. Rubio is an incredibly impressive representative of the Republican Party. He is a gifted politician as well as an eloquent spokesman on behalf of conservative teachings. If only he hadn’t succumbed to the temptation to join Chuck Schumer et al. in trying to peddle the mess of pottage in the name of immigration reform, I would celebrate him without reservation. As it is, the mess of pottage passed the Senate and Obama is still using it to his advantage against Republicans. Senator Rubio therefore has a way to go to reestablish his credibility in my eyes.

I’m not as big a fan of Senator Cruz, but he was excellent as well. He related an interesting anecdote in response to the question whether California Senator Dianne Feinstein is talking to him after their dust-up last year. (If your memory is vague, as mine was, you can find a handy account here.) The Senate is a strange place, he said. It’s like a junior high school lunchroom, with its rituals and cliques.

He related that Senator Feinstein has had the same three brief elevator conversations with him since their dust-up. On each occasion she greeted him: “Hello, tough guy.”

He responded something like (I’m writing from memory): “Dianne, I’m a pussycat.”

She responded each time: “Is that what your wife tells you?”

I’ll leave it at this for now.


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