The first night of CPAC closed with a dinner keynoted by Dick Cheney, featuring a speech by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. You'll recall that Bolton was the bellicose neoconservative whom President Bush had a Sisyphean time of pushing him into a job the Senate had to sign off on. This battle elevated Bolton from just another Bush apparatchik to a cause celebre on the right; he opened his remarks by thanking everyone who helped him try to get the job, even though he only won a recess appointment that died this year and "your efforts were in vain."
It's worth highlighting just what pro-war bloggers were fighting so hard for. Bolton believes the U.S. is doing the right thing in occupying Iraq, acknowledging that the lack of WMD there "didn't matter" and that the invasion needed to happen. He pleads for regime change in the two countries he still calls members of the Axis of Evil, and he does so in an exasperated tone that says "I know I'll never get another government job, so go to hell." Here were his comments on North Korea:
Now, we have seen efforts by the liberals in the media and on the Hill and, yes, in the permanent bureaucracy of our own federal government, to overturn the administration's policies. To say that North Korea, Kim Jong Il, can be talked out of his nuclear weapons. Certainly he's a reasonable person! We'll just bargain with Kim Jong Il and he'll give his weapons up! Don't we all believe that? There are people who believe that! My judgment is that nuclear weapons for Kim Jong Il are integral to regime survival and he's not going to give them up voluntarily. What we have to do is apply pressure, apply sanctions, isolate North Korea further, and finally to achieve the real solution to the nuclear weapons problem: Eliminate the regime in North Korea and reunite the Korean peninsula!
That's obviously the goal on the peninsula, but… how much more can we isolate North Korea, exactly? There's nothing to be gained from negotiations? Here's Bolton on Iran:
It is extremely important that President Bush follow up on what he has said, which is that it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons. I do take President Bush to be a man of his word. I think when he says "it's unacceptable" for Iran to have nuclear weapons, what he means is "it's unacceptable!"
I can't simulate the applause that followed these statements; imagine the original Allman Brothers wrapping up a 45-minute version of "Jessica" "Mountain Jam," and the ovation that would follow. That'd be a reasonable facsimile.