The word is that John Bolton is not going quietly after President Trump’s ostentatious slam-dunking of him on Twitter. Maybe he won’t. But there’s a part of this equation I doubt we’ll see discussed much in the press coverage of this story. Bolton isn’t really a foreign policy guy and hasn’t been for more than a decade. Yes, he still discusses foreign policy and for the last year or so he had what is basically the top foreign policy job in the U.S. government. But since the end of the Bush years Bolton has really been a public politics guy and a consummate player in the GOP buck-raking industrial complex.
Bolton had a $500,000 a year gig with Fox News. But he also had a slew of PACs and fundraising entities dedicated to sounding the alarm about bad acting regimes and sending money into John Bolton’s pocket. He became one of the GOP’s many professional yakkers and scaremongers who make big dollars raising money off the folks who watch Fox News.
Just for kicks, here’s some of the fundraising emails I pulled up in my inbox, each with links to give money by this or that deadline.
Just one sample of the sort of stuff you’d find in those emails:
But here’s the thing. Donald Trump owns the Republican party. Just ask Justin Amash and Mark Sanford and Bob Corker and a number of others. Trump is the first, second and third rail of Republican politics. You can’t be anti-Trump and be anywhere in the GOP/Fox News funding system, let alone in elected office. If you want to stay in, you have to do what Sen. Ben Sasse did and give Trump full custody of your dignity with maybe the hope of occasional visitation rights.
I have no doubt that Bolton wants to roast Trump alive. Partly it’s just payback for canning and humiliating him. But Bolton must also be horrified by what Trump appears to want to do in Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and various other places. But if Bolton goes full Trump critic, it’s very hard to see how he’s ever going to make the massive paydays he was before Trump picked him.
Not that that’s the end of the world. I’m sure he’s a wealthy man and he could find other ways to make money. But that’s a Fox News world. And if he goes anti-Trump, that world will be closed to John Bolton. And that big money is going to be really hard to forego.
At the risk of stating the obvious, Bolton is far too crazy and awful to make it as a dissident Republican Never Trumper on MSNBC. He’s the worst of the worst. If he goes anti-Trump, as opposed to quiescent Trump wraith husk who still gets a new gig on Fox after a cooling off period, he will be truly homeless.