Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning, he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
Appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the nation's largest annual conference of conservative activists, Bolton, one of the hardest hardliners of the George W. Bush administration, spoke at length about Obama's naiveté and how various nations – Russia, North Korea, Iran – will be exploiting the new president. The most dramatic moment of his speech may have been when he cracked a joke about the nuking of Obama's hometown.
"The fact is on foreign policy I don't think President Obama thinks it's a priority," said Bolton. "He said during the campaign he thought Iran was a tiny threat. Tiny, tiny depending on how many nuclear weapons they are ultimately able to deliver on target. Its, uh, its tiny compared to the Soviet Union, but is the loss of one American city" – here Bolton changes his tone subtly to prepare for the joke – "pick one at random – Chicago – is that a tiny threat?"
Bolton wasn't the only one who thought this was funny. The room erupted in laughter and applause. Was this conservative catharsis, with rightwingers delightfully imagining the destruction of a city that represents Obama? Or perhaps they were venting vengeance with their laughter. (Bolton is no stranger to inflammatory remarks. He once infamously quipped
, "There are 38 floors to the UN building in New York. If you lost 10 of them, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.")
At CPAC, the Right's most fevered beliefs about Obama live on, with speakers portraying him as a radical liberal who wants to compromise American values, hand hard-earned taxpayer dollars to the shifty poor, and, as Bolton repeatedly pointed out, weaken America's defense.