Since it appears that the US Ambassador to the UN will not get confirmed, the reform of the UN is a dead issue, too. Although I recognize that Bolton was a controversial selection, his selection was the middle ground. There was quite a contingent of people much smarter than me who had given up hope for UN reform and felt that we should start over. The problems at the UN drug the issue of reform from the political fringe to the mainstream. For these UN skeptics the ballgame is over. Reform is no longer on the agenda. Working with corrupt and incompetent officials is just a cost of doing business at the UN.
It is interesting to reflect on the differences between the Abramoff corruption and the Oil for Palaces scandal. In terms of money involved and loss of life, the Abramoff scandal was minor league. You can use the same rationale for the Cunningham, DeLay, Foley, and Jefferson scandals. It is ironic that Jefferson, a Democratic congressman, is seeking re-election in a year the national Democratic party is lamenting the culture of corruption in Washington. I doubt the Democratic party will find fault with the UN culture that looked the other way when genocides were committed in Bosnia, Iraq, and Rwanda. The UN legacy is hard to overlook but Democratic leaders have ignored it in the past.
I genuinely hope the Democratic leaders will be successful in leading this country out of Iraq and reducing the threat of global terrorists. The Democratic party discipline shown in this last election was successful in avoiding many self-inflicted injuries. This discipline will be necessary over the next couple of months if anything is to be accomplished in Congress. If the exit polls are correct, the key issues that got Democrats elected in 2006 will not be issues in 2008. This “big tent” has a lot of new players with different agendas. The Democrats need to accomplish something important to the voters in the next two years or they will not get re-elected. The key is working together and avoiding divisive issues. The conservative and independent voters will leave them in droves if the Democrats cannot accomplish anything because of their own party politics. I can only watch and hope for the best.