For blatantly circumventing the Senate confirmation process and unnecessarily inflaming Democrats at a time when the focus should be on the war debate. While lawmakers were on spring break, Bush used “emergency” powers to appoint controversial Republican fundraiser and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth donator Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium. The Swift Boater’s negative advertising campaign against Sen. John Kerry, calling into question his Vietnam service, delivered a major blow against the Democrat hopeful during the 2004 presidential elections. The president initially withdrew Fox’s nomination when Senate Democrats indicated they would not approve it. No sooner was the Senate on recess than Fox was installed. No matter that Fox, who can now serve until the end of 2008, is labeled the back-door ambassador. Far more important, the president used this provocative trick while in a lock with Democrats over Iraq war funding. His offer to meet and talk about the war funding standoff, but with the caveat that this is not a negotiating session, is contradictory and understandably infuriating to the Democrats. Unnecessary inflammatory moves such as this only stiffen each side’s entrenched stance at a time when they should be striving toward an agreement. Given the White House’s tactics, it’s not surprising, though still inexcusable, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has resorted to her own acts of defiance, embodied in her visit to Damascus.