Do You Like Senate Holds and Jams?

Do you like senate holds and jams?
I do not like them,
I do not like senate holds and jams.

If you don’t like senate holds and jams
Go Email Sam, email Sam, stop the logjams!

That goes rather well, doesn’t it? Thank you, thank you, my rhyming dictionary is not so useless after all :-). I’ve recently written about the Hill nomination here and here and elsewhere. Why? It bugs me silly that a career public servant has to go through this crap for doing his job.

Anyway, today in the National Journal’s Lost in Transition section, Kirk Victor reports that Brownback Promises Battle On Iraq Nominee. Asked what he intends to do when Christopher Hill’s nomination to be ambassador to Iraq reaches the Senate floor, Senator Brownback gave the following response:

Brownback:We are going to fight hard against Chris. I met with him [on March 18] in my office and he did not allay any of my concerns. When he was conducting six-party talks, I asked him to involve the special envoy for human rights. He didn’t want to do it. So I held up an ambassadorial nominee to South Korea. The State Department really wanted that ambassadorial nominee.

Finally [former Virginia GOP Senator] John Warner brokered a deal in the Armed Services Committee where Chris Hill was testifying and Warner had me ask questions. One of them was, “Will you invite the special envoy for human rights to the six-party talks?” He said yes, he would. That didn’t happen. On his word of doing that, in front of open committee, I lifted my hold on the South Korea ambassador. So he misled me.”

That’s the Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights (huh?) by the way, who was publicly rebuked by then Secretary of State Rice in January 2008 for criticizing international negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons program. “Rice said that Jay Lefkowitz, President Bush’s special envoy on North Korean human rights, “doesn’t know what’s going on in the six-party talks, and he certainly has no say on what American policy will be in the six-party talks.” Read more here.

Here’s an idea — maybe the good senators would like a conference call with Dr. Rice? She’s currently over at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, phone number (650) 725-7293. She probably will confirmed to them that Hill did not go “rogue” on her and that he did exactly what she told him to do. Because that’s what career diplomats do — they follow orders or they get fired or they quit (yes, that, too). Since he did not quit and was not fired, he most probably certainly followed orders. Seriously? Diplomats get to pick their own ties, but they are not freelancers; they do not negotiate on their own without instructions from the mother ship. Oh, damn! But he did negotiate, didn’t he? Ewww — qué barbaridad!

Meanwhile, Laura Rozen reports what the U.S. military’s chief spokesman, Geoff Morrell, told The Cable Thursday: “Generals Odierno and Petraeus have come out very publicly and very forcefully in support of Ambassador Hill’s nomination. I know they support it. “With regards to [Senate] members who have issue with him, I would say this,” Morrell added. “We appreciate their steadfast support of the Iraq mission. But you can’t be bullish in support of that mission and not send an ambassador in a timely fashion.”

As good old Mal would say, “Holy testicle Tuesday!” More later…

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Is This the Hill Sam Brownback Wants to Die On?

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