President Obama can grant five million illegal immigrants amnesty, install high-level executive staff without consulting Congress, remove the work requirement from welfare reform, free dangerous Talibani soldiers without notifying Congress, and rewrite Obamacare dozens of times. But the Speaker of the House issues an invitation to the head of our greatest ally in the Middle East to discuss the existential threat Israel faces from its neighbors in front of Congress, and the president is mortally offended.
Obama is reportedly “fuming” over House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress in support of expanding U.S. sanctions against Iran to halt its uranium enrichment and nuclear weapon production.
His sycophants are equally upset: The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen carped that Boehner doesn’t have the right to issue an invitation to a foreign leader on his own, and that the Speaker and his allies bypassed Obama simply because they “hate his guts” and want to “destroy the president.”
Politico’s David Rogers labeled Boehner’s actions “payback” and blamed the kerfuffle on the “deteriorat[ion of] normal courtesies” and on “acrimony” that is “infectious”—not on Obama’s demonstrable, pigheaded refusal to communicate with Congress.
Rogers cites two examples of Congress and the President not talking that are supposed to show both sides are guilty of usurpation of powers—yet both actually demonstrate that the president is at fault. The first is the White House ignoring Boehner’s request to have Netanyahu speak in 2011 (Obama’s fault). The second is the White House inappropriately promising South Korean President Lee Myung-bak a chance to speak before Congress without first asking Boehner (also Obama’s fault), the latter of whom understandably delayed his approval—but did eventually give it, unlike Obama—out of disgust at disregard for his position.
But Rogers acts as though both sides are equally to blame for appropriating each other’s power, asking, “Have the two sides learned now they must talk more?” One already knew; the other refuses to learn.
The Boston Globe’s Michael A. Cohen complained that in cooperation with Boehner, Netanyahu has “gone too far,” demonstrated unprecedented “ingratitude and hubris,” “blindsided” and “undercut” Obama, “gone out of his way to stick his finger in the president’s eye,” “nakedly politicized the issue” of sanctions, and “throw[n] Obama and the White House under the bus.”
Let’s see: Obama issued an executive order unilaterally granting amnesty to five million illegal immigrants rather than properly leaving such authority to Congress. Is that “going too far?”
Obama repeatedly made recess appointments when Congress wasn’t in recess, a move the Supreme Court slapped down in a humiliating 9-0 ruling. Is that “hubris?”
Obama released a policy directive allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to waive the work requirement of the hugely popular and effective 1996 welfare reform law, thus stripping it of its enforcement power. Does that “blindside” and “undercut” Congress?
Obama traded five high-level, murderous Talibani soldiers for one traitorous U.S. deserter without notifying Congress one month beforehand as required by law. Does that “stick a finger in Congress’s eye?”
Obama continues to rewrite Obamacare on an almost weekly basis by changing or delaying the enforcement of dozens of provisions until strategic dates after important elections. Is that “nakedly politicizing” issues or “throwing Congress under the bus?”
Compare Boehner’s invitation and Obama’s executive actions. The former supports the goal of helping our greatest Middle Eastern ally preserve its existence and serve as a bulwark against terrorist states who seek to bring down the West. The latter support the goal of trying to turn the country more Democratic, sneak far-left nominees into office, expand the welfare state, appease our enemies, and help fellow Democrats get elected.
We give the Commander in Chief some leeway in foreign policy, but in the case of inviting Netanyahu to speak, Congress isn’t even overstepping its boundaries. They’re simply asking the Prime Minister to comment on the issue of sanctions against Iran, something Congress will ultimately vote on. Only because Obama has repeatedly expressed such venomous contempt for Israel and Netanyahu is this invitation the big scandal the administration has made it.
Obama has a boneheaded, ineffectual, diplomatic strategy that Congress’s overture may hinder, but the President isn’t the only party who gets to weigh in on foreign policy.
Obama’s mantra for the last two years on every subject for which Congress and the American people oppose what he wants to do has been, “If Congress won’t act, I will.” Obama frequently boasts about having a phone and a pen at his disposal. But Boehner isn’t even using his pen—just his phone. He’s not trying to write, sign, or impose anything—just invite an ally to make a speech. And he’s not boasting about it.
Who is guilty of greater violation of separation of powers, Obama or Boehner? I’m going with… not even close.
- “Netanyahu’s US visit could have lasting consequences for him” (therebel.website)
- John Boehner Invites Israeli Prime Minister to Address Congress Next Month Without White House’s Permission (blackchristiannews.com)
- Wiretap: Netanyahu picking a side? (coloradoindependent.com)
- Obama Won’t Meet With Netanyahu During Visit (newser.com)
- News You Really Need To See: “GOP Invites Israeli Leader” (notwhatyoumightthink.wordpress.com)