President Obama can grant five million illegal immigrants amnesty, install high-level executive staff without consulting Congress, strip welfare reform of its work requirement, free dangerous Talibani soldiers without notifying Congress, and rewrite Obamacare. 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 before Congress, and suddenly the president is mortally offended over violation of procedure.
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 weapons production.
His sycophants are equally upset: The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen carped that Boehner has no 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 cited two examples of Congress and the President not talking that are supposed to show that both sides are guilty of usurpation of power—yet both actually demonstrate the President 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 eventually gave it, unlike Obama—out of disgust at disregard for his role.
But Rogers acts as though both sides are equally to blame for appropriating each other’s power; he asks, “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. Was 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. Did Obama’s actions demonstrate “hubris?”
Obama released a policy directive allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to waive the work requirement of the hugely effective 1996 welfare reform law, thus stripping it of its enforcement power. Did that “blindside” and “undercut” Congress?
Obama traded five high-level, murderous Talibani soldiers for one U.S. deserter without notifying Congress one month beforehand as required by law. Did 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 further 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.
It’s true that we give the Commander in Chief some leeway in foreign policy, but in the case of inviting Netanyahu to speak, Boehner isn’t even overstepping his boundaries. He’s simply asking the Prime Minister to comment on the issue of sanctions against Iran, a matter Congress will ultimately vote on. Only because Obama has such venomous contempt for Netanyahu is this invitation the scandal the administration has made it.
Obama has a boneheaded, ineffectual, diplomatic strategy that Boehner’s overture may hinder, but the President isn’t the only one 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. 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.
On the question of who is guilty of greater violation of separation of powers, I’m going to go 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)