WASHINGTON — For Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn, winning Senate confirmation as ambassador to the Vatican is going to be easy. Whether the job will equal his high expectations still remains to be seen.
Mayor Flynn's well-publicized musings about his desire to turn his new post into a kind of super-ambassadorship, traveling the world to promote human rights, have won him few friends in the State Department in recent days. Yet his confirmation hearing June 22 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was brief and laudatory.
Panel Democrats lobbed softball questions and joked with Flynn about his basketball past. Republicans stayed away - reportedly in part because they think the peripatetic Flynn might well end up embarrassing the Clinton administration.
Flynn talked repeatedly at the hearing of his desire to elevate the post, to bring his philosophy of building bridges between disparate groups to social problems on a global scale.
"The president wants me to utilize fully the potential of the position," he said.
At the same time, he carefully noted that he would not be going anywhere without the concurrence of President Clinton, the secretary of state, and the United States ambassadors to whatever nations he might be passing through.
Lining up these approvals is not likely to be easy, especially considering the way Flynn has already trod on foreign service prerogatives.
Still, Mayor Flynn insisted he would wait to be called upon. "I don't see this as any kind of turf issue," he said.