John Bolton, Criticizer-in-Chief

While he told TheDC social issues “aren’t where I spend a lot of my time,” Bolton said he opposes abortion and has no problem with gay marriage – indeed, he said that gay marriage is “going to happen.” But, he added, “they are fundamentally issues to be resolved politically, primarily at the state level. And I think the notion of creating a constitutional right to abortion or a constitutional right to gay marriage is a mistake.”

Not shy about his position on a wide range of issues, would this critic-in-chief consider a run for commander-in-chief in 2012? Bolton didn’t reject the idea out of hand.

“[I]t is a very great honor that anybody would even think of asking. I’m obviously not a politician. I’ve never run for any federal elective office at all and, you know, it is something that would obviously require a great deal of effort,” he said. “What I do think, though, and what concerns me, is the lack of focus generally in the national debate about national security issues. Now, I understand the economy is in a ditch and people are concerned about it, but our adversaries overseas are not going to wait for us to get our economic house in order.”

When pressed as to whether that means he would consider a run, Bolton seemed to suggest that he might do it, at the very least to help put national security issues at the top of the debate agenda.

“In the sense that I want to make sure that not only in the Republican Party, but in the body politic as a whole, people are aware of threats that remain to the United States. You know, as somebody who writes op-eds and appears on the television, I appreciate as well as anybody that…there is a limit to what that accomplishes,” he said. “Whereas, some governor from some state in the middle of the country announces for president they get enormous coverage even if their views are utterly uninformed on major issues.”

When pressed a third time about running, he said that while “he is not going to do anything foolish,” he added, “you know, I see how the media works…you have to take that into account.”

Again, not a no.

Philosophically, the Yale College and Yale Law School grad says thinkers such as Edmund Burke and Adam Smith helped shape his worldview as well as more modern writers like the late William F. Buckley, Jr. and former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater.

When asked as the interview came to a close about how history will view the last Bush administration — an administration he served in and was later critical of — Bolton said that scholars will have to assess what he sees as two different administrations separately.

“I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say there were almost two different Bush administrations,” he said. “One, the administration of the first four years. Then the second, the administration of the second term. I think if you look at the first term he would be judged a great success. A lot of the problems that came, particularly in foreign policy, are more the result of what he did in the second term.”