What Does Merriam-Webster Know Anyhow?

At the heart of the raging dispute over the nomination of John Bolton may actually be a battle between conservatives and, well, the English language. At the same time the Bush administration and conservatives in Congress have praised John Bolton as a diplomat, an overwhelming number of Bolton’s former colleagues have definitively stated that Bolton is no diplomat. Here’s the problem…

The commonly accepted definition of a diplomat:

One who uses skill and tact in dealing with others.

Here is Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, giving President Bush’s definition of a diplomat:

People say that “John Bolton has been blunt. Some would say even more than that. Some would say intimidating, abusive, who tried to get people fired. But at the end of the day nobody was fired. People’s feelings may have been bent out of shape. And the president is saying somebody that bends the feelings out of shape may be needed to wrench around the UN.”