The man with the mustache: Bolton 2012?

Okay, but how would Bolton run? He is exploring that now, talking to people about fundraising, communications, and the other elements of a campaign. He is getting hip to the social media, having acquired a Facebook page, doing some tweeting. He believes that there is no clear frontrunner for the 2012 nomination, and that the race is wide open. People may be inclined to this candidate or that, but they are not committed. “There’s no magic out there yet.” Who will catch on, who will supply the magic? Among the people Bolton has been talking to are Tea Party people, “many of whom have been very encouraging, I have to say.” Bolton is a fan of the Tea Party: “I like it because their view of government is essentially the same as mine, and I like it because they’re regular people who, but for the shock of Obama’s radicalism, probably would never have gotten active in politics.” He has not seen such political intensity since the Goldwater campaign. And the “Washington establishment,” he says, looks down their noses at the Tea Partiers, same as they looked down on the Goldwaterites.

Well, couldn’t Bolton start by running for some lower office? “I figure, if you’re gonna do it, you might as well go for the big enchilada. I mean, I’m 62, I’m the right age to run for president, I’m not 32, I’m not going through the cycle. I hope I live to 90, but I’m not going to spend 30 years running.” Does he think he would enjoy campaigning? “I don’t know, that’s a big question. That’s one of the things I’m trying to decide.” An old friend who has been through many campaigns gave him a piece of advice: “You’ve got to say to yourself, ‘You’re gonna get up every morning, if you do this, and enjoy it,’ and if you’re not prepared to say that, don’t do it.” Bolton finds this a wise piece of advice. And he remembers a funny story about Dick Cheney from the 2000 campaign. The candidate and his wife were at an elementary school in Ohio. Lynne Cheney asked her husband whether he would like to read the tots a book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The candidate said, “Why don’t you go ahead and start? You’re the expert in reading.” Bolton is sympathetic: He would not be much for reading to children.