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God save us from meddling amateurs (update)
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, April 05, 2007

Certainly the case can be made that the diplomacy of the Bush administration has been less that fruitful or even that it has been very well done. But the one thing that can't be argued is that Constitutionally, its the executive branch's job.

Enter the "Damascus Diva", Nancy Pelosi, and her attempt at doing something for which she has not authority or experience and you get precisely what you would expect. Its so bad that even the Washington Post is less than kind to her:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered an excellent demonstration yesterday of why members of Congress should not attempt to supplant the secretary of state when traveling abroad. After a meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Ms. Pelosi announced that she had delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "Israel was ready to engage in peace talks" with Syria. What's more, she added, Mr. Assad was ready to "resume the peace process" as well. Having announced this seeming diplomatic breakthrough, Ms. Pelosi suggested that her Kissingerian shuttle diplomacy was just getting started. "We expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace between Israel and Syria," she said.

Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message. "What was communicated to the U.S. House Speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel," said a statement quickly issued by the prime minister's office. In fact, Mr. Olmert told Ms. Pelosi that "a number of Senate and House members who recently visited Damascus received the impression that despite the declarations of Bashar Assad, there is no change in the position of his country regarding a possible peace process with Israel." In other words, Ms. Pelosi not only misrepresented Israel's position but was virtually alone in failing to discern that Mr. Assad's words were mere propaganda.
And, of course, Pelosi became a willing, although seemingly unwitting, tool of that propaganda and may have managed, through her misrepresentation of both sides, to actually set current peace efforts back. Brilliant.

As the Post editorial concludes:
As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president. Two weeks ago Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president. We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush's military strategy and regional diplomacy. But Ms. Pelosi's attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.
This image of the meddlesome mommy figure isn't at all helpful to Democrats. And, as the post points out, is another example of Pelosi's overreaching. She's not even figured out, fully, her legislative role yet has busily engaged in attempts to micromanage the war and take over Middle East diplomacy.

Well we're seeing how her latter attempt is shaping up - disastrously. Is there any reason to believe, if successful, her attempt to micromanage the war will end any other way as well?

UPDATE: An even truer indication that Pelosi's meddling was inappropriate - Jimmy Carter thinks it was a good idea:
Former President Jimmy Carter expressed his support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria, rejecting White House criticism of the visit.

"I was glad that she went," Carter said Wednesday. "When there is a crisis, the best way to help resolve the crisis is to deal with the people who are instrumental in the problem."
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
You want proof that Pelosi’s a screw up on this matter?

Jimmy Cater thinks she’s doing fine...

...

The prosecution rests...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
An even truer indication that Pelosi’s meddling was inappropriate - Jimmy Carter thinks it was a good idea...
When you’ve got the highest ranking useful idiot in American history on your side, that should indeed be an indicator about how far off in the weeds you are.

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I was opposed to a Democratic takeover of Congress for policy reasons, but it looks like the reality is even worse. Not only are they pushing policies that I oppose, but it is also becoming clear that their leadership is dangerously unsophisticated.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Like I said back in the Clinton years, and the N Korea thing...

"The second worst foreign-policy president has sent the WORST foreign-policy president to take care of things..."
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
"dangerously unsophisticated" - pretty much describes the moonbat left in the first place.
Where everything is moonponies and candy canes, and no one is bad, and if it weren’t for George Bush, we’d be able to be friends with everyone in the world.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Yeah, McQ, except the the WaPo’s assinine editorial is contradicted by its own reporting. First, Pelosi is just one of many members of Congress to visit Syria. A Republican House delegation was there just last week. And the Israeli government’s statement doesn’t contradict what Pelosi said, as both you and the Post imply. There’s no reason at all to think that Pelosi did anything other than convey the message she was asked to convey.

This whole thing is a cynical exercise in faux outrage by the White House. They have no problem with Republican Senators and Congressmen visiting Syria, but somehow when Pelosi does the same exact thing, it’s just beyond the pale. Please. What a load of bull.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Hmmm, didn’t hear any statements like the following when a delegation of minor Republican members visited.
Syrian officials said Damascus wants to help Washington achieve an “honorable withdrawal” from Iraq but in return the United States must press Israel to return the Golan Heights.
I mean, it’s no wonder Pelosi wanted to meet with them, they’re willing to help us surrender in Iraq...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
AL, I’m afraid you are mistaken...

Isreal’s stated policy is to not talk with Syria... Pelosi said they wanted the exact oposite, and their PM quickly corrected her.

How, exactly, does that translate into "She wasn’t mistaken, and the PM’s statement doesn’t contradict her wrongness"?

I ask, because I wish to learn how the liberal mind works... Does it really imvolve getting smashed-drunk, and repeated blows to the head?
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Does it really involve getting smashed-drunk, and repeated blows to the head?
Is there anything else? I thought that covered it in ALs case.
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
Pelosi is able to do what she did and get very positive world press (and generally positive American press) because most people see the Bush administration as basically all but finished and are looking forward. By bringing a letter from the Israeli Prime Minister to the Syrian President, she also appears as being diplomatically useful in a way supported by Israel.

This is alongside recent condemnations of the US by Saudi Arabia, and recent interactions between various European governments and China, Russia and of course Iran. The world sees Bush as a lame duck, and America’s power to influence others is very low. The ability of a rookie Speaker of the house to travel to Syria while being condemned by the White House for making foreign policy harder is strong evidence that Bush has reached lame duck status, and people are curious about how the democrats might handle things.

I also doubt people will blame the Democrats for lack of funding for troops if Bush vetos their bill — a lot of people will blame Bush for his veto.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"may have managed, through her misrepresentation of both sides, to actually set current peace efforts back. Brilliant."

On the other hand, it may be that the Israelis and Syrians realize that our shadow president is a fool and don’t take her seriously. Maybe she thinks that if Hillary can run for Pres., so can she, and she is burnishing her foreign policy credentials.


"There’s no reason at all to think that Pelosi did anything other than convey the message she was asked to convey."

Except maybe that the Israeli government repudiated her?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"By bringing a letter from the Israeli Prime Minister to the Syrian President"

What letter? And why on earth would Israel use her?

"The ability of a rookie Speaker of the house to travel to Syria while being condemned by the White House for making foreign policy harder is strong evidence that Bush has reached lame duck status,"

No, it is evidence that Pelosi has the freedom to make a fool of herself. A calendar is all you need to determine lame duck status.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Did you know that you’re a little bit nutty, Mr Erb?
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
You can’t have it both ways, Erb. Either she misrepresented this letter she supposedly carried to the media or she misrepresented it to Assad, because it’s right there in black and white. The Israelis have not changed positions.

How you could believe a blunder of that proportion is any help whatever, or should curry favor with the world press, defeats me. She looks like an idiot right now and so do we. Mostly, of course, because a good portion of our citizenry will actually support her for stumbling around the Mideast like this.

Personally, I disavow the stupid bint.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
I also doubt people will blame the Democrats for lack of funding for troops if Bush vetos their bill — a lot of people will blame Bush for his veto.

Mayhap, depends on the 1600 PA spin.....the 24% pork to signal ratio leaves the Democrats a little vulnerable, don’t you think Dr. Erb? Plus, "Iraq is not worth one more American life, but you can stay there another year?" Plus, the quotes I’m seeing about Reid and Pelosi PRIOR to their inauguration is going to hurt them. So, No, the Democrats might come out looking worse in this, worse as hypocrites, porkmeisters, and panderers. Might, might not....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Dr Erb -
she also appears as being diplomatically useful in a way supported by Israel.
Washington Post -
Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message.
Uh...yeah....okay.
I think the English to English translation software you’re using might be faulty.
You might consider using another one.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Scott,

Nice substance-free ad-hominem response. Look, there is zero evidence that Pelosi failed to convey the exact message she was asked to convey, and the Israeli government has said no such thing. Quite the opposite. Olmert’s office said that "Pelosi is conveying that Israel is willing to talk if they (Syria) would openly take steps to stop supporting terrorism." That’s what she told them.

It’s also worth noting that even as I write this, another Republican delegation is visiting Syria, this one led by Representative Darrell Issa. And Issa is even criticizing the President, something Pelosi made a point of not doing.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Looker, you’re quoting the WaPo’s kooky editorial page, not its actual reporting, which contradicts it.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
If by "substance free" you mean "laying out the salient details of how your assertion that pelosi wasn’t wrong", then yes sir, you are correct.

I find it interesting that you left out the rest of Olmert’s statement in your little quote there, buddy-boy.
"Pelosi is conveying that Israel is willing to talk if they (Syria) would openly take steps to stop supporting terrorism," Olmert’s spokeswoman Miri Eisin said. "But at this point the Syrian government, by openly backing terror all around the Middle East, is not a partner for negotiations."
Emphasis is mine, so you can see it this time. Obviously it just slipped by on accident the first time.

"We’re willing to talk if they stop sponsoring terroists" and "We want to talk" are actually two completely different statements.

And if you think Pelosi isn’t slamming Bush on her trip, you’re wackier than I thought. She can barely say two sentences here in America without bashing him. Do you honestly think she gains greater self-control the further away she gets from DC? I mean, granted, no one in Syria can vote for her so there’s little that pandering can accomplish, but still...

And the Jerusalem Post seems to disagree, and says that Olmert gave Pelosi no message to take to Syria... Because what I quoted above has been Israel’s position for some time. Why have someone like Pelosi deliver a message that has been delivered several times already?

You are starting to remind me of someone, but I can’t quite put my finger on who...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
As for the "ad-hominem" part of my reply to you, it’s only an ad-hominem reply if the insult is used as my argument, and it was not.

It was just an insult. Sorry.
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Since they won control of congress the Democrats seem to be setting up their own State Department to oppose the Bush foreign policy. Pelosi’s trip is just the first of what will be many Democratic diplomatic missions.
I also doubt people will blame the Democrats for lack of funding for troops if Bush vetos their bill — a lot of people will blame Bush for his veto.
When Clinton vetoed the Republican budget, it was the Republicans who were blamed for shutting down the government. Double Standard, nah.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
No James... Same standard...

"It’s always the republicans’ fault"
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Looker, you’re quoting the WaPo’s kooky editorial page, not its actual reporting, which contradicts it.
Mrs Pelosi claimed that she had delivered a message of peace to Mr Assad from Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, suggesting he was ready to hold peace talks. But her comments caused Israel again to stress its preconditions for entering into such negotiations. An Israeli official said: "The Prime Minister said Israel is interested in peace with Syria, but Syria would first have to abandon the path of terror and providing support for terrorist groups."
Should I have quoted the kooky Israelis?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker,

Fred Hiatt is taking that statement totally out of context. Read the WaPo’s actual reporting and you see that the statement doesn’t contadict what Pelosi said. You might want to actually read what the WaPo reported too, Scott, because you’re perpetually clueless. Just because you don’t like Nancy Pelosi doesn’t mean she said a bunch of stuff that she didn’t say. And check this out:
[Pelosi spokesman Brendan] Daly pointed out that Pelosi was briefed by State Department officials before her meetings with the foreign leaders and that State Department officials also attended her meetings.

So if Pelosi really committed foreign policy flubs of the first order, the State Department is in a position to confirm as much.

The White House certainly received a read-out of what exactly Pelosi and the foreign leaders said in their meetings. Significantly, the White House has not openly accused Pelosi of the foreign-policy missteps the Post had accused her of.

In an e-mail follow-up, Daly wrote: “WH has not said that because in fact the Speaker did not get the message wrong — she included the necessary caveats and did not say or imply that this was a change in Israel’s position.”
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Fred Hiatt is taking that statement totally out of context.
Which would matter, had I not quoted another paper in the second go round on the actual statement by the Israelis in response to the actual statement by Speaker Pelosi.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/article2424242.ece

Last paragraph of the above article.

And while we’re at it, kudos to Speaker Pelosi for her brave stand from a
group of people I certainly would want on my resume as a reference.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3385140,00.html
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker,

This is what you quoted:
"The Prime Minister said Israel is interested in peace with Syria, but Syria would first have to abandon the path of terror and providing support for terrorist groups."
Do you have any evidence that this isn’t exactly the message that Pelosi conveyed? No, you don’t. So what are you talking about?
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
So, here’s Nancy’s quote to the world about her meeting with Assad
We were very pleased with the assurances we received from the president that he was ready to resume the peace process," she said.

"He’s ready to engage in negotiations for peace with Israel. The meeting with the president enabled us to communicate a message from Prime Minister Olmert that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks as well."
And here’s the Israeli response to her quote:
Pelosi also said she brought a message to Assad from Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert that Israel was ready for peace talks with Syria, but Olmert’s office said in a statement later this would only be possible if Syria abandoned terror and stopped assisting terror groups.
http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=266124808&p=z66yz568x
An Israeli official said: "The Prime Minister said Israel is interested in peace with Syria, but Syria would first have to abandon the path of terror and providing support for terrorist groups."
Ms. Pelosi also said she brought a message to Mr. Assad from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel is ready for peace talks with Syria.However, an Israeli government official later said this is only possible if Syria stops assisting terrorist groups.
Do you have any evidence that this isn’t exactly the message that Pelosi conveyed? No, you don’t. So what are you talking about?
Well, gee, other than the Israelis hurrying around clarifying her statement, no.
Generally people don’t clarify things that they think are clear enough already.

You of course have evidence of what she did say with Assad, so I’m sure you’ll provide the links or transcript and such for those of us who don’t have those kind of clearances.
And of course, you’ll probably have the connection to Olmert’s office who will relate to us why they thought it necessary to clarify her statement at all.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Let’s presume that Pelosi, gave the proper qualifiers during her talks with terror-master Assad. This is what Pelosi said to the press,
"(Our) meeting with the president enabled us to communicate a message from Prime Minister (Ehud) Olmert that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks as well," Pelosi told reporters in Damascus after talks with Assad.
So, at the least, she was over-stating the Israelis commitment to peace talks in the public. If this is the case, it is a very amateurish blunder for a seasoned politician to make.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Democrat Spinmeisters have been saying Pelosi isn’t doing anything different than other politicians, Democratic and Republican have. The Syrian government has another take according to their state run news paper’s editorial page.
"The presence of the American speaker of the House in Damascus carries
more than one meaning, the most important of which is convincing American
officials of the importance of dialogue with Syria and its key role in the
region. It is also a blunt recognition of the failure of the Bush
administration’s policy."
Al-Thawra editorial
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/

"Pelosi is conveying that Israel is willing to talk if they (Syria) would openly take steps to stop supporting terrorism," Olmert’s spokeswoman Miri Eisin said. "But at this point the Syrian government, by openly backing terror all around the Middle East, is not a partner for negotiations."

"Pelosi, D-Calif., and the delegation, which includes the first Muslim member of Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, is scheduled to meet Abbas on Monday."

While the rest of the world is talking about what Pelosi told the Syrians AFTER she left Israel, you are talking about what she said in Israel, before she went to Syria. There is a difference. Perhaps a statement by the Israeli PM AFTER she went to Syria would clarify this for you. I will quote the headline and the first paragraph;

"PMO denies peace message to Assad"

"The Prime Minister’s Office issued a rare "clarification" Wednesday that, in gentle diplomatic terms, contradicted US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s statement in Damascus that she had brought a message from Israel about a willingness to engage in peace talks."

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1173879247562&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Of course I am sure Pelosi’s spokesman knows better than the PM’s spokesman what the PM said.

It is also worth noting that this Republican group is not claiming, erroneously, to speak on behalf of Israel.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Looker, you’re quoting the WaPo’s kooky editorial page
When did the Washington Post’s editorial page become kooky?

I think I know the answer to this already, just wondering whether anyone else knows.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
James,
You should check out Asia times, they’re claiming Bush put her up to it in private so he’d have an ’out’ in a face saving situation.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ID06Ak06.html


And from Israel, further clarification.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=845618&contrassID=2&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0
...The bureau responded to questions raised yesterday by a statement made by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, following a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Pelosi said she had relayed a message from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, to the effect that Israel was ready for peace talks with Syria.

The Prime Minister’s Office was quick to issue a denial, stating that "what was discussed with the House speaker did not include any change in Israel’s policy, as it has been presented to international parties involved in the matter..."
...According to sources at the Prime Minister’s Office, "Pelosi took part of the things that were said in the meeting, and used what suited her."

The same sources explained that the decision to issue a statement of denial stemmed from questions from Israeli and foreign press regarding a change in Israel’s official stance on negotiations with Syria....
Those kooky guys at WaPo, thank heaven AL is here to give us the straight poop.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Steverino, my guess would be ’the exact moment it didn’t perfectly comform to his world-view’
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
it is a very amateurish blunder
At the end of the day, this is why you don’t appoint yourself as a foreign affairs diplomat when your purview up until now has been representing your district in California.

She’s so far out of her depth she’d need a 3000 foot snorkle to catch a breath of air.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker (and others), this isn’t all that difficult. You’re taking one sentence that Pelosi made publicly and implying that that statement somehow represents the complete message that she conveyed to Syria. You’ve cited nothing that even suggests that the message she conveyed to Syria was anything other than the message she was asked to convey. As her office points out, there were State Department and other officials at the meeting and no one is claiming that Pelosi said anything other that what she was supposed to say.

To the extent Israel is trying to "clarify" anything, it is Pelosi’s public statement, which was almost surely plucked out of context for brevity’s sake and therefore did not convey the more nuanced message that she actually delivered to Assad.

As for the WaPo editorial page, kooky is probably the wrong word. Neocon-ish is better. If you’ve been paying any attention over the last few years, you may have noticed that Fred Hiatt isn’t exactly "liberal".

Finally, I notice that no one here seems to be at all worked up over the fact that Republican members of Congress have also visited Assad recently, including Darrell Issa today, and have said things that make Pelosi look admirably restrained. But I guess that little data point doesn’t fit with the desired narrative here, so it can just be ignored.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Finally, I notice that no one here seems to be at all worked up over the fact that Republican members of Congress have also visited Assad recently, including Darrell Issa today, and have said things that make Pelosi look admirably restrained. But I guess that little data point doesn’t fit with the desired narrative here, so it can just be ignored.

Who the hell is Darrell Issa? There is nothing wrong with a member of Congress going to Syria, but when the House Speaker and a whole delegation of Democratic Congressional bigwigs make a highly publicized diplomatic mission to that country it takes on the trappings of a Summit Meeting. A Summit Meeting between the leadership of a superpower and Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the corrupt, figure-head leader of a rogue state that is working to help kill our troops in Iraq.


Pelosi is so feckless that she doesn’t even seem to realize that even if she got Assad to sign some kind of agreement it wouldn’t be worth the paper it is written on. Assad is not running that country. His is simply the face on the sock puppet.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
A.L.,

No double standard here — I hate the fact that some Republican Congressmen went along on this joy ride just as much that I hate the fact that Pelosi is there shooting off her mouth and undermining the President. I have no idea what the Congressmen were thinking — maybe they thought they could put the brakes on Pelosi if necessary — but I think it’s more likely that they were just junketing, as Congressmen on both sides are sadly wont to do.

However, up till now I haven’t seen any reports on public statements they have made. Do you have a link to Issa’s statements? I’d love to check it out. He may indeed be just as big a self-serving blowhard as Pelosi, or bigger. Idiocy appears to be no respecter of parties. :-/
 
Written By: Mary in LA
URL: http://
That was my guess, too, Scott.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
"therefore did not convey the more nuanced message that she actually delivered to Assad."

Which you know about because...?


"and have said things that make Pelosi look admirably restrained."

Do you happen to have a cite?

"But I guess that little data point doesn’t fit with the desired narrative here, so it can just be ignored"

Provide some data, rather than just an allegation, and perhaps it won’t be ignored. I see no reason to get worked up over nothing.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
You’re taking one sentence that Pelosi made publicly and implying that that statement somehow represents the complete message that she conveyed to Syria
And you, are as naive as, if not more so than, Pelosi if you think the public statements are not the ones that people pay attention to.
If they were not, Israel would not have felt it necessary to, (again I try to clarify the significance), clarify their position with respect to Syria, and clarify their position with respect to being represented to Syria by Speaker Pelosi.

You can go along and pretend that public statements are meaningless as long as something else (the correct thing) was said in private.
That’s not the way the real world sees it. When I say something in public no one gives a rat’s arse, when SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS says something, it usually has meaning. It’s power, that’s why they seek the job, and when they open their mouths, people listen to what comes out of them, and presume it means something.

I see you’ve chosen to skip over any of the Israeli denials as if they didn’t occur, and most especially over this observation about the Speaker’s activities.
According to sources at the Prime Minister’s Office, "Pelosi took part of the things that were said in the meeting, and used what suited her."
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Here’s why public statements matter.
Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the willingness by some lawmakers to talk with Syria "is proof of the importance of the resistance against the US.

"The Americans know and understand they are losing in Iraq and the Middle East and that their only chance to survive is to reduce hostilities with Arab countries and with Islam. Islam is the new giant of the world," he said.
So, there she is, our shining star, reinforcing the proof of the importance of resistance against the US.
Do you suppose Abu Abdullah was IN the room when Pelosi met with Assad? or did he just hear the public statements afterwards.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the willingness by some lawmakers to talk with Syria "is proof of the importance of the resistance against the US.

I guess we’ll need Erb back here, to explain how diplomacy that encouraged the military wing of Hamas to think that terrorism brought the US to its knees is a good thing.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I’m very glad Pelosi made the trip, and sends a message that the President is not a King, and there is division on American foreign policy (not that anyone paying attention could doubt it). Nobody should ever feel cowed not to speak up about policy and act on it just because ’the enemies might get the wrong impression’ or it might make ’bad guys feel good.’ The minute we sacrifice democratic openness to fear that outsiders might like seeing the debate is the moment we put imperial pretensions above democratic principles. I’m not surprised that Pelosi is getting good reviews so far (at least when you get away from hostile blogs). In part she benefits from the President being so weak.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Looker (and others), this isn’t all that difficult.
By your misunderstanding of it you certainly don’t give that impression. But you are suffering from massive cognitive dissonance so I can see why you are so confused.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
When I say something in public no one gives a rat’s arse, when SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS says something, it usually has meaning. It’s power, that’s why they seek the job, and when they open their mouths, people listen to what comes out of them, and presume it means something.
Yes, Nancy. You really can be Secretary of State. It matters not if you harm your country.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
I’m very glad Pelosi made the trip, and sends a message that the President is not a King, and there is division on American foreign policy (not that anyone paying attention could doubt it). Nobody should ever feel cowed not to speak up about policy and act on it just because ’the enemies might get the wrong impression’ or it might make ’bad guys feel good.’ The minute we sacrifice democratic openness to fear that outsiders might like seeing the debate is the moment we put imperial pretensions above democratic principles. I’m not surprised that Pelosi is getting good reviews so far (at least when you get away from hostile blogs). In part she benefits from the President being so weak
What a total load of rubbish.
I’m very glad Pelosi made the trip, and sends a message that the President is not a King
That message needs to be sent? I thought it was evident in the fact that the President is elected, and only serves 2 terms max, etc etc.

and there is division on American foreign policy
It’s not the speaker of the House’s job to meddle in foreign policy in this manner.
Nobody should ever feel cowed not to speak up about policy and act on it just because ’the enemies might get the wrong impression’ or it might make ’bad guys feel good
Never? Really? Hey look Erb, don’t give me this line of crap just because the American left is on the same side as our enemies in almost every major conflict. Fact is, giving the enemy the wrong impression can be DEADLY. The fact that you want to play fast and loose with this sort of thing to spit in the Presidents’ eye is a disgrace.
The minute we sacrifice democratic openness to fear that outsiders might like seeing the debate is the moment we put imperial pretensions above democratic principles
BLAH BLAH BLAH GENERIC HIGH-SOUNDING ACADEMIC SELF SERVING JUSTIFICATIONS
I’m not surprised that Pelosi is getting good reviews so far
Neither am I, but I’m pretty sure our reasons are markedly different

In the meantime Erb, next time there is a Dem President, will you support GOP high-profile meddling in foreign affairs? Just asking, but I know your answer. "Democratic openness" and the like always seem to go away the second the
Dems are in charge....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Erb, we separated the various powers of the government for a reason: to preserve the democracy you claim to value so highly. We are also engaged in a series of ongoing intelligence and military operations aimed at crippling and/or destroying religious extremists who are dedicated to undermining and eventually destroying those same principles, both here in the United states and abroad. Pelosi’s visit has damaged YOUR purported cause on at least two fronts: both the IW warfare front and the diplomatic front, not to mention undermining efforts towards political reform in Syria, as follows:

IW: An important part of the current conflict is informational and psychological warfare, and so far the US and its allies have been getting their rear ends handed to them in this arena due to the ability of our enemies to either manipulate or to gain the active and knowing cooperation of many media outlets in publishing propaganda or in spinning (or uncritically accepting pre-spun)information so as to support their IW goals. When a politician gives comfort to the enemy, or as you put it makes them "feel good", they are bolstering recruiting, improving their resolve and will to fight, and making it easier for them to garner financial and logistical support from civilian groups in the West. In other words, Pelosi is helping to ensure that foreign insurgents in Iraq as well as Islamic terrorist groups elsewhere in the world get more men, more guns, more bombs, and more public support.

Diplomacy: Other members of our legislative branch have visited Syria. What they have NOT done is directly contradict our standing foreign policy since that policy is the province of the executive branch and the state department, and was crafted in order to support strategic goals in the war on terror as well as humanitarian goals within Syria itself. By not only breaking that but attempting to engage in high-level talks with a President who, let us not forget, is strongly implicated in a string of assassinations in a neighboring country in order to allow a terrorist group his government supports to seize greater political power there...well, to put it simply it cripples our attempts to A) present a unified front and B) apply pressure. Pelosi has just opened a pressure relief valve on the entire effort, setting us back and ensuring that Syria will continue to support terrorist groups. This is sabotage (however unwitting it might be, and the jury’s out on that aspect), not "democratic openness".

Political Reform: A high-profile meeting with Assad by Pelosi helps to legitimize his government, one that (and this bears repeating) continues to fund and support terrorist groups in other countries, engage in political repression and human rights abuses domestically, and almost certainly committed a series of assassination in a neighboring country in order to assist a terrorist organization they support in gaining power there. Pelosi is effectively acting as a PR shill for this government and there will be repercussions for Syrian reformers that will last for years.

Finally, you’ve defended her actions as being nothing more than part of our tradition of "democratic openness". Democratic openness means public discussion and debate, something we have absolutely no shortage of here in the US. It does NOT mean taking actions that undermine ongoing diplomatic and (indirectly) military operations. To suggest that attempting to present a coherent and consistent face on our foreign relations in the face of external threat, and that figures in positions of public trust and responsibility should not deliberately act contrary to our own immediate military and diplomatic goals (both short- and long-term) is stifling "democratic openness" is irrational in the extreme.
 
Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
In the meantime Erb, next time there is a Dem President, will you support GOP high-profile meddling in foreign affairs?
Yes. I supported Trent Lott’s criticism of Clinton in Desert Fox, and Republican criticism in the Kosovo war.

In general, I support Congress asserting power over the executive, regardless of which party holds which position. I oppose strong Presidential power, and prefer more power to be with Congress (which I believe the Constitution intended).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, I’ll point out again: There’s a difference between public criticism and debate and acting as an ad hoc ambassador to a country we’ve frozen high-level relations with.
 
Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
"... and sends a message that the President is not a King, and there is division on American foreign policy ("

I think the point is she was speaking on Israeli foreign policy, which she has no business involving herself in. It was, after all, Olmert she claimed to be speaking for, not Bush.

"By bringing a letter from the Israeli Prime Minister to the Syrian President, she also appears as being diplomatically useful in a way supported by Israel."

You do remember this sentence of yours, don’t you? The "letter"(which you still havn’t explained) was sent by Israel, not the US, and judging from the comments by the Israeli government, they do not support her words.

"I support Congress asserting power over the executive,"

Even the executive of foreign governments, evidently.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I was JUST reminded by reading responses on another blog (no baby, you aren’t the only one. Cope) about the following:
§ 953. Private correspondence with foreign governments.
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
I think Nancy might be... Well...

Screwed...

Not that she’ll ever be prosecuted.
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
It doesn’t matter what Pelosi said. It’s where she said it. Politics are supposed to stop at the Waters Edge.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
The minute we sacrifice democratic openness to fear that outsiders might like seeing the debate is the moment we put imperial pretensions above democratic principles.
Outside of academia debate is not an end unto itself. The job of the speaker of the House is to promote this country’s interests, not debate.

In any case, no here has criticized Pelosi for expressing an opinion It seems like you were just looking for a hook on which to hang your little aphorism. The criticism is that she over-stepped her Constitutional role by meddling in foreign policy, and then botched it up by issuing a public proclamation about what took place that was false and self serving, causing our democratic ally in the Mid East to squirm and our terrorist foes to become emboldened.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
James E. Fish said: "It doesn’t matter what Pelosi said. It’s where she said it. Politics are supposed to stop at the Waters Edge."

YES, Mr. Fish, a thousand times YES! Thank you!

Anonymous Liberal, yesterday I asked if you had a link to Darrell Issa’s statements. You didn’t forget, did you? ;-)
 
Written By: Mary in LA
URL: http://
Yes. I supported Trent Lott’s criticism of Clinton in Desert Fox, and Republican criticism in the Kosovo war
What those 2 did was a bit less than what Pelosi did.

And you have demonstrated either ignorance or willful intellectual dishonesty. Which is it
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://

 
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