Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sonni Efron Doing A Good Job Covering Bolton Nomination For L.A. Times

Sonni Efron, the L.A. Times' diplomatic correspondent in Washington, is doing an outstanding job covering the ongoing controversy over the nomination by President Bush of John R. Bolton for UN Ambassador.

The more we hear about Bolton's record of browbeating intelligence personnel, the more the questions about this nomination, and it obviously hinges, as these things often do, around the small number of Republican moderates in the U.S. Senate. Should they develop further questions about this nomination, it might not go through.

Efron's experience in Japan, her academic background and her experience in Washington all are helping her cover this issue, and her articles have been careful and temperate. She has avoided creating an impression of an agenda, which has hurt the credibility of the press in the current high pressure atmosphere in Washington.

As I've noted earlier, there are signs of a change in the political climate in Washington, and it's not inconceivable the President could be approaching more serious problems, even in the Republican-controlled Congress.

For one thing, hubris has become a GOP problem, with Rep. Tom DeLay blasting the courts and having his family collecting large sums of government money. There are reports even Bush himself has cool feelings toward DeLay.

Second terms are often difficult even for the most popular Presidents. Bush is anything but the most popular.

Even if the Democrats have problems of their own, the polls indicate the President is suffering from public skepticism of his position on social security, the situation in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East has many complications, and continued high gasoline prices and a weak stock market all have created an unsettled political atmosphere.

Those issues create opportunities for the opposition, and the Bolton nomination could provide the occasion for striking at the administration. even from within the Republican party.

That's why this is worth writing a great deal about, and Efron is bright, she knows what is significant and is writing away.

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