Helms obstruction

THE BALTIMORE SUN

THE CLINTON administration has sought a grand bargain on foreign policy with Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., the very conservative chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, so it can conduct foreign policy.

The bargain is not working if he rejects the nomination of Gov. William Weld of Massachusetts to be ambassador to Mexico, with no reason given beyond a spurious, supposed softness on marijuana. The real objection seems to be that Mr. Weld is a moderate Republican.

The administration was prepared to back down, but thanks to Mr. Weld's backbone in refusing to withdraw, it is sticking by him. Foreign policy must be run with the advice and consent of the Senate, but the Senate should not let Mr. Helms block an apparently qualified appointment on whim.

With issues of drug enforcement and NAFTA compliance, the U.S. needs a tough ambassador to Mexico, tough enough not to run from confrontation with Jesse Helms.

! Pub Date: 7/26/97

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