In an act of big-time face-saving, George W. Bush today withdrew the nomination of major Swift-Boat donor Sam Fox, a wealthy St. Louis businessman and GOP benefactor, to be the new U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. Fox's nomination was in trouble based on a $50,000 donation he made to the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to help them smear John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race.
In a short statement of communication to the Senate, the White House press release said simply "Withdrawal Sent to the Senate... Sam Fox, of Missouri, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Belgium, which was sent to the Senate on January 9, 2007."
Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) reacted quickly to the news, saying that Fox does not have the personal characteristics required to represent America abroad.
"Our nation's ambassadors should possess strong credibility and character so that they may effectively represent U.S. interests overseas. While I believe Mr. Fox cares about serving this country, his statements just didn't add up -- especially those concerning his donation to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an organization that embodies American politics at its worst," said Obama, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "I had serious concerns about Mr. Fox's candor, judgment, and qualifications for this important post, and I am pleased that the Bush administration acknowledged that it would not be able to muster the votes to confirm his nomination."
Senator and 2008 presidential candidate Chris Dodd (D-CT) deserves a lot of credit for being the only Senator to come forward and publicly announce in advance that he intended to vote against Fox.
"I strongly oppose the nomination of Sam Fox to be U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. U.S. Ambassadors need to be both responsible and credible, and Mr. Fox's support for an organization known to have spread falsehoods illustrates neither," said Dodd yesterday. "Moreover, the fact that Mr. Fox refused to apologize for his behavior during his nomination hearing reinforces my belief that he would not be an acceptable representative for the position of U.S. Ambassador."
For the White House to withdraw this nomination could only mean that they saw the writing on the wall and that, if Fox was not destined to be shot down entirely, there was a plan afoot to filibuster or put a secret hold on his nomination.
I'm sure that Mr. Fox is having some second thoughts about all those television ads he helped fund for the Swift Boat Liars... Let this be a lesson to all that there may indeed be some consequences when you donate to lying scumbags.
You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.