Tags: john bolton | republicans | retrenching | strategy

John Bolton: Republicans Must 'Stop Shooting at Each Other'

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 06:20 PM

Former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton says bungling Republicans must stop sniping at each other and spend the next several months retrenching and plotting strategies to win back the presidency and the Senate.

"This has been badly handled all the way around for the past three or four weeks. One thing Republicans ought to stop doing is stop shooting at each other," Bolton told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"We've had our tactical differences, that's for sure … but the Republicans themselves are not the problem. The problem is in the White House. And, fundamentally, the lesson we have to learn is that parliamentary tactics, strategies, ultimately mean very little. They don't really solve any problems."

"Until we get control of the Senate, until we increase our control in the House, until we get the presidency, we're not going to get what we want," he said.

"To believe that we could've forced the shutdown or the debt crisis to work to our advantage politically, you have to make one big assumption … that the mainstream media will treat us fairly. It ain't going to happen … The mainstream media will act like a megaphone for the administration. We need another strategy."

To formulate that strategy, top Republican lawmakers must join together and brainstorm, he believes.

"My proposal for the next couple of months is, let's talk now among Republicans. Let's decide on a strategy, let's exchange chess boards. We're not playing checkers here. We're playing against the master strategist for the left-wing ideology, who's playing a very long game," Bolton said.

"Let's spend the next three months plotting the strategy. When we come to the end of the continuing resolution, when we come to the debt ceiling again, let's figure out not just how to get a lot of publicity, let's figure out to win this time and make the case to set up the November 2014 election."

Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, also believes that the Obama administration's ongoing quest to make a nuclear-weapons deal with Iran and lift sanctions is dangerous.

"I'm very worried about these talks. The administration is just obviously looking for a diplomatic win, they want to declare victory on a deal with Iran. I have it in mind that the president wants to show up in Tehran to shake the Ayatollah Khamenei's hand before his term in office is over," Bolton said.

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"You can always make a deal with an adversary by giving in. It's very easy. You don't require an ace negotiator to do that, and that's what they went to Geneva to try to do."

Meanwhile, the Russians, who are closely tied to Iran's nuclear weapons program, are enjoying the overtures.

"Vodka sales are up — there's no doubt about it," Bolton joked.

"And I don’t' think the administration either understands or cares about the impression that they're giving because it's not just the signal of weakness toward the Russians and the Iranians that this shows, or the Syrians either. It's all of our adversaries, all around the world.

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