Danforth Resigns Suddenly

My first impression on John Danforth’s resignation as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. was he was ticked at not getting promoted to run the State Department. However, it seems to me this was just a difference is styles between Danforth and the Bush administration:

Colleagues said he had been frustrated at his lack of independence but Danforth made no mention of this in his resignation letter to President Bush, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

“Forty-seven years ago, I married the girl of my dreams, and at this point in my life, what is most important to me is to spend more time with her,” he said in a Nov. 22 letter to Bush distributed to reporters on Thursday.

Some former colleagues said Danforth, a former senator from Missouri, had recently expressed frustration over not being more of an independent actor and having to check often with Washington.

The news came as a “complete surprise,” said one U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Danforth, in a speech last month in St. Louis, said that as a former senator, he was not accustomed to having a policy statement vetted by State Department bureaucrats and transformed into “mush” before he could issue it.

“It creates some practical problems,” he told alumni at Washington University.

He said that when Bush asked him to become U.S. ambassador, he told him, “The book on you is that you go it alone and don’t believe much in the U.N.”

“I didn’t want to waste my life on what he considered irrelevant,” he said. But the president then emphasized that the United States needed the United Nations to wage an effective war on terrorism and improve ties with France, he told the alumni.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell (Mrs. Alan Greenspan) reports that Danforth didn’t like the snail pace of the world body.

Or maybe the corruption he saw at the U.N. made him sick.

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Erick Erickson

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