April 5, 2007

Pelosi's Pratfall

Nancy Pelosi's amateurish fumble in Syria left the Washington Post less than impressed. In an editorial titled "Pratfall in Damascus," the Post doesn't stop at scolding Pelosi for demonstrating why egotistical Representatives should not insert themselves into diplomacy. It also questions her motives and accuses her of attempting to create a shadow presidency:

Ms. Pelosi was criticized by President Bush for visiting Damascus at a time when the administration -- rightly or wrongly -- has frozen high-level contacts with Syria. Mr. Bush said that thanks to the speaker's freelancing Mr. Assad was getting mixed messages from the United States. Ms. Pelosi responded by pointing out that Republican congressmen had visited Syria without drawing presidential censure. That's true enough -- but those other congressmen didn't try to introduce a new U.S. diplomatic initiative in the Middle East. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.

Never mind that that statement is ludicrous: 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.

The Democrats, led by Pelosi, have tried to undermine Bush for years. Now that they have the majority in Congress, they can give full vent to their schemes. The efforts of the past couple of months show that the Democrats want to turn the Constitution upside down, strip the executive branch of its power, and make Congress the supreme power in the American system.

Well, sorry, but that's the British system. Perhaps Pelosi would be more comfortable there or in Canada, but here in the US, the elected President has all of the Constitutional authority to conduct foreign policy and command the military. That remains true even when Congress dislikes the policies in both areas. If the Democrats want a new foreign policy, then let them nominate someone who can articulate one that the American people support, and stop nominating appeasers and vacillators.

The founders understood that America has to speak with one voice abroad in order to keep our enemies from exploiting our domestic divisions and to allow our allies to rely on our consistency. Pelosi managed in her trip to screw that up for two nations, the US and Israel. She proclaimed Damascus as the "road to peace" just months after Syrian-supported terrorists attacked Israel, and while they still hold two Israeli soldiers captive. The supposedly peaceful man with whom she met probably ordered the political assassination of Rafiq Hariri and other Lebanese politicians who want a closer relationship with the West.

Pelosi's "foreign policy" apparently has no problem with these kinds of betrayals ... another reason Americans don't trust Democrats to conduct the nation's business abroad. Where is Robert Byrd and his pocket Constitution when the Democrats need them?


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Comments (27)

Posted by JeanneB [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 6:22 AM

TThank you, thank you, thank you! for mentioning the kidnapped Israeli soldiers! Reading the MSM it's as if their capture (and the resultant war) never happened.

SUpon her return, it will be SHAMEFUL if the MSM don't ask Pelosi what she said to Assad about those soldiers---and the investigation into the Harriri assasination.

At least the WaPo seems to comprehend her enormous blunder.


Posted by stackja1945 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 6:31 AM

Assad is happy with Pelosi. Now if she visits Putin and Muggabe. Reminders of that other lovely trio Hitler, Stalin and Musso.

Posted by TomB [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 6:44 AM

She is third in the line for the presidency, right?
So, if the two achead of her would be eliminated, she would run the country, right?
Never mind, never mind, just a stupid thought...

Posted by muirgeo [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 6:48 AM

I think Nancy is just practicing for when she takes office after Dick and George are impeached.

Posted by NavySpy II [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 7:05 AM

And none dare call it Treason...

Posted by Cybrludite [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 7:08 AM

Keep waxing onanstic over that dream, Muirgeo.

Posted by burt [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 7:47 AM

TomB, I would feel better if Bush and Cheney were never in the same building.

I subscribed to the Post for nearly three decades primarily because it has extensive, although very biased, news coverage. If there had been more articles like this one, I would never have tried the Washington Times which is much less complete but more in tune with my views. I don't expect to go back.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 7:47 AM

It would be interesting to see SanFran Nan's reaction if somebody asked her point-blank whether she thinks that Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism. I'd wager that she'd go into contortions to duck that question, or at best blather about why we still need to "partner" with them for the cause of "peace".

Cap'n Ed wrote:

The Democrats, led by Pelosi, have tried to undermine Bush for years. Now that they have the majority in Congress, they can give full vent to their schemes. The efforts of the past couple of months show that the Democrats want to turn the Constitution upside down, strip the executive branch of its power, and make Congress the supreme power in the American system.

Well, sorry, but that's the British system. Perhaps Pelosi would be more comfortable there or in Canada...

Cap'n, Cap'n, Cap'n... Remember, our Constitution is a "living document", and any little rules it might set forth about who is supposed to conduct diplomacy and military policy are simple guidelines that evolve with the penumbras of the emanations from the articles. Think about the dems' and their bitching over the Electoral College back in 2000: it was "unfair" and therefore had to go. No need to go through the fuss 'n' muss of a constitutional amendment: just get rid of it by fiat (judicial or otherwise).

At any rate, the dems seem to love the European system(s) and everything about them. Why, they have universal health care! Obviously, we need to do business like they do!


Now, as for SanFran Nan hobnobbing with Assad... The sorry fact is that we've often done business with unsavory countries / leaders. It was quite common during the Cold War, when we'd cozy up with any number of thugs just because they claimed to be anti-communist. Even now, we're chummy with the odious Saudis because, bad as they are, they are better (for us) than the Iranians or Syrians.

Obviously, this is what SanFran Nan is doing: Assad may be a murderer, and a terrorist, but he hates George Bush, and so that makes him and SanFran Nan virtual soulmates.

I wonder what sort of a deal she was cutting with him?

Posted by Redhand [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 7:48 AM

It's pretty amazing that this harsh (but accurate) editorial came from the WaPo. What an idiot Pelosi is, and how frightening it is that she dares to think the Speakership gives her latitude to pull this kind of stunt, much less bungle the message.

The Bush Administration's incompetence in the GWOT (Iraq in particular) shattered my long held belief that the Republicans can be trusted with the conduct of US foreign policy. It's doubly depressing to have this fresh demonstration that the Dems are even worse.

Posted by Bennett [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 7:50 AM

I do feel bad for Mrs. Pelosi. I can understand why she thought that conversations with Olmert and Assad could be regarded as trivial, that it wouldn't matter if she got it wrong or what she said exactly because so much of our political discourse here is meaningless. Unfortunately for Mrs. Pelosi, the same is not true in other parts of the world, especially the Middle East. That Mrs. Pelosi apparently doesn't know this is not just embarrassing, it's sad. She comes across like a silly old woman, out of her depth and out of her league.

But I am pleased to see that her trip is finally getting a critical look in the media and about something other than headscarves.

Posted by rhombus [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 8:10 AM

Pigs flying... hell frozen over...I'm stunned, confused and amazed!! Keep hope alive, at least the Washington Post editorial staff actually CAN read the Constitution... when they want too.

Not that they care much about George Bush but I'm sure they don't want THIS woman upstaging THAT woman. Especially since they know THAT woman will be President and wouldn't want any Republican leaders getting the idea THEY can run their own foreign policy with a Democrat in the Oval Office. snicker, snicker

Posted by retire05 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 9:14 AM

It's called the Logan Act. Enforce it, damn it.
Nancy Pelosi thinks that because she is third in line she has all the rights of the presidency. She doesn't.
I wonder if she conferred with Rockefeller to see just how far she could go in undermining the United States. But this is what we have got, boys and girls, a bunch of pantie waisted aging hippies that used to march in protest of the Vietnam war with their copies of Marx and Gramsci under their arms now serving in the Senate.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 9:19 AM

Ok, so let's just go with the flow here.

If Mizz Hilary or Obama or any other Democrat get's elected in 2008, on January 20th 2009 the Republican Party in both the Senate and the House should simultaneously inaugurate their own "shadow" government and immediately establish lines of communication with all other governments on the planet. The shadow administration should immediately begin supplying an alternative message to every country that will listen and invite them to treat the "official" message as only one of many available alternatives.

In addition, each and every branch and department of the federal government will have a critical counterpart in the shadow government whose job will be to offer an alternative policy to every pronouncement of its official counterpart, right down to the smallest detail. In effect, each department and branch will be faced with a well-financed and well-prepared "war-room" opponent at every single turn, on an hour-by-hour basis.

Then let's hear all of these pious frauds talk about "unity", while they try to hide their bloody daggers in their pants pockets.

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 12:19 PM

Of course Pelosi is an idiot (visiting with Assad confirms that) but that won't prevent the usual repackaging on Sunday by Hillary's favorite brown-noser Tim Russert and the rest of the shills helping her to explain how she's been misunderstood. Couric, Williams, Schieffer , Schneider, Blitzer and similar presstitutes will shower her with puppy love.

Then she'll visit the night show circuit of Leno and washed-up Letterman just as Al Gore did for damage control after the truth about his mansion and limousine liberal lifestyle leaked out.

Never forget that her press following may be critical of HOW Pelosi has come across but remain no less invested in securing defeat if they think it will pay political dividends with Hillary's moonbat fringe further down the road.

Posted by LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 12:49 PM

It's bloody well past time for the Logan Act to be enforced.

Posted by clio [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 1:48 PM

Uh oh. A fact check that reveals what you're spewing as pure anti-Democratic, vitriolic and baseless bullshit? Tickle me surprised.

It seems Pelosi isn't the only one in Syria. Why, REPUBLICANS are there too!!!

I bet you'll say they're undercover Democratic operatives. You're a phony.


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Originally posted: April 5, 2007
Was Pelosi in Syria unfairly accused?

Posted by Frank James at 11:38 am CDT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was harshly criticized in an editorial in today's Washington Post for allegedly botching a message she relayed from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during her meeting in Syria.

But the available evidence suggests that the Post editorialist is likely wrong.

The editorial's headline "Pratfall in Damascas," aptly conveys its thrust. Here's the relevant passage:

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.

Pelosi's spokesman, Brendan Daly, told me in a brief phone conversation: "We never said the (Israeli's) position changed."

Instead, he said, Pelosi accurately conveyed Israel's position: should the Syrians end their support for Hezbollah and Hamas, then the Israelis would be willing to talk.

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."

Another accusation made in the editorial is that Pelosi is trying to create a "shadow presidency," that her Middle East trip is part of that effort.

Daly rejected this. "We're trying to work with the administration," he said.

The sense that Pelosi and her delegation have reinforced the Bush administration in Middle Eastern capitals doesn't come from her spokesman alone.

Rep. David Hobson of Ohio, the only Republican on the trip, confirmed to a Dayton Daily News reporter that Pelosi et al have presented a united front as far as U.S. policy towards Syria.

Here's the top of the story by Jessica Wehrman.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. David Hobson on Wednesday rebuffed Bush administration criticism of his trip to Syria with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she has reinforced Bush administration policies in the region and possibly made progress toward peace in the Middle East.

Hobson of Springfield, the lone Republican on a seven-member tour of the Middle East led by Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said the speaker strongly reinforced Bush policy on Syria, urging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to work to lessen the influence of terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah in the region, to stop the influx of suicide bombers into Iraq from Syria and to "not fall into the trap of being dominated by Iran."
Though the administration does not currently talk to Syria, Hobson said the delegation was adamant in urging Assad to support administration policy in the Middle East.

"I think we played a useful role," Hobson said in a phone call from Saudi Arabia. "We reinforced the administration's positions and at the same time we were trying to understand and maybe getting some voice to some things people wanted to say that maybe they were not comfortable saying to the administration. The jury's out ... but this was not an anti-administration trip at all."

Hobson, who has been generally supportive of the war in Iraq, said the war was not the subject of discussions in countries that also included Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press has a report that three Republican congressmen just returned from Syria as part of a separate fact-finding trip, supported the idea of members of Congress visiting Syria, despite Bush Administration protests.

Three Republican congressmen who parted with President Bush by meeting with
Syrian leaders said Wednesday it is important to maintain a dialogue with a country the White House says sponsors terrorism.

"I don't care what the administration says on this. You've got to do what you think is in the best interest of your country," said Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. "I want us to be successful in Iraq. I want us to clamp down on

..."This is an area where we would disagree with the administration," (Rep. Robert) Aderholt (of Alabama) said. "None of us in the Congress work for the president. We have to cast our own votes and ultimately answer to our own constituents. ... I think there's room that we can try to work with them as long as they know where we draw the line

Posted by Captain Ed [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 1:53 PM

Uh, yeah, I covered the Republican trip on Sunday and condemned it, too. Guess you couldn't be bothered to check your facts before posting insults.

Also, please don't post entire articles in the comments -- a link will do.

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 3:13 PM

I think Bennett expressed my point - pandering Pelosi took her Moveon babble on the road and discovered that Israel and Syria use complete sentences.

Before she made the trip our debate here over U.S. foreign policy was a mostly private domestic squabble. Now Pelosi's gone and involved the neighbors. It's an embarrassment for her and for us.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 3:28 PM


The President has made it clear that any diplomatic help from non-diplomats is unwelcome -- Republicans included.

You just have to go to the primary sources (www.whitehouse.gov). Here is the April 2 news brief:

Jennifer: The Speaker said in Beirut today that -- first of all, she's criticizing the White House for what she says is ignoring other Republican lawmakers who have made trips to Syria in recent days. And, also, she said she thinks it's a good idea to establish facts and to try to build confidence with Syria. Why is that not a good idea? And how is that just a photo op?

MS. PERINO: Let me unpack that a little bit. First of all, last week when I was asked about her specific trip, I said in my comments that, in general, we discourage members from going to the region. And that is true. In fact, I looked back, when Tony Snow was asked at this podium months ago, when Senator Nelson made a similar trip, he said the same, that this was a blanket policy -- but I was asked a specific question about Speaker Pelosi, which is why I said that.

Speaker Pelosi is a high-ranking United States official. Nothing changes -- nothing has changed in Syria's behavior over the years when high-ranking U.S. officials go to see them. We sent Secretary Powell early on; the behavior doesn't change. Syria uses these opportunities to flaunt photo opportunities around its country and around the region and around the world, to say that they aren't isolated, that they don't need to change their behavior, and it alleviates the pressure that we are trying to put on them to change their behavior.

And by changing their behavior I mean as in, stop undermining the democratically elected government of Lebanon; stop allowing foreign fighters to flow from Syria into Iraq, in which they are then killing American soldiers and innocent Iraqis and Iraqi soldiers. They are state sponsors of terrorism, of both Hezbollah and Hamas, and they support Palestinian terrorism.

And so that was the reason that we said that we discouraged her from going. But that policy applies to all. So I think that maybe she wasn't able to see my exact comments, so I won't judge her on that. But the policy applies everywhere.

So, Darrell Issa and the other Republicans going over to Syria are just as bad as Pelosi in White House eyes. At least they aren't claiming to carry messages, later found bogus, from either the US or Isreal, to Syria. And Issa will certainly have to answer to his Dixie Chicks style comments about Bush in Syria.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 4:07 PM

The Republicans should not have gone either, but they are not high ranking American officials with a history of trying to deliberately undermine the president's policy either. That is exactly what Pelosi is doing and she is making a fool of herself in the process.

And Redhand, I am so tired of people talking about competency and incompentency in Iraq. Did you write a Occupation for Dummies handbook or something? Iraq is not a project, it is a country of over 25 million people. There are no simple obvious answers to fixing things. If there were the US would have probably have taken out Saddam 15 years ago.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 7:14 AM

It’s clear what the Democrats are doing. They are going to find someway to defund the war and at the same time encourage both Syria and Iran to keep up the pressure. The Democrats have a recent history of working with America’s adversaries to undermine a Republican President foreign policy. There is good archival evidence that Ted Kennedy, following in his father’s pro-Naxi footsteps, worked with the Soviet government to prevent the deployment of the INF in the early 80’s. Speaker James Wright made regular undisguised visits to Managua to coordinate actions with the Ortega government.

Pelosi’s attempt to align US Foreign policy with that of Syria and Iran wasn’t just limited to helping the terrorists destroy the Iraq. I don’t think she botched he message from Olmert. You have to assume she deliberately misrepresented them. The dominant faction of the Democratic Party is both pro-terrorist and anti-Israel (read anti-Semitic). Pelosi is trying to force Israel into surrendering to Hamas, Hezbollah and ultimately to their Syrian and Iranian sponsors.

Like most of the Leftwing dominated Democrats, Pelosi views the Islamic world as driven not by theology but by some neo-Marxist ideology. She sees them as striving for the progressive vision of “social justice.” She is the evil twin of Dinesh de Souza in that she believes that the reason for their anti-gay and anti-women behavior is that they have a false consciousness that is a product of Western Capitalism. If we adopt socialism they will shift their views in alignment with the Progressive point of view.

If the Republicans were actually mature enough to govern the Bush Administration, through the State Department, would be asking the US Attorneys Office to convene a Grand Jury to look into Pelosi's obvious violation of the Logan Act. Unfortunately, Republicans are enthralled with "good government” notions of bi-partisanship that only exist when they are in the minority. If the Republicans are unwilling to go to war with a Democratic Party that is aligned with America’s enemies then we are better off with a surrender policy of Democratic Party government.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 7:30 AM

jerry wrote (April 6, 2007 07:14 AM):

It’s clear what the Democrats are doing. They are going to find someway to defund the war and at the same time encourage both Syria and Iran to keep up the pressure.

BINGO! The dems use casualties to justify their rhetoric about Bush's "incompetence" and how Iraq will NEVER be a peaceful democracy. Look at the glee with which the MSM reports US casualties and how our resident libs quote casualty figures to justify their BDS.

Who better than Syria and Iran to make sure that those casualties keep on piling up?

What DID SanFran Nan promise Assad?

Posted by SwabJockey05 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 11:35 AM

Jerry, your last sentences convey a similar point I've been trying to make:

The Repubs ENABLE the Dhimmis.

With the nearly continuous Dhimmi treason etc ENABLED by Repubs...we are better off cutting and running ASAP.

Posted by Monkei [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 4:02 PM

If Mizz Hilary or Obama or any other Democrat get's elected in 2008, on January 20th 2009 the Republican Party in both the Senate and the House should simultaneously inaugurate their own "shadow" government and immediately establish lines of communication with all other governments on the planet

Why yes, I believe that was called Newtism years ago.

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 4:18 PM

Naah. During the Clintoon years the "shadow" government was Monica under the desk.

No one else, um, captivated Bubba the Perv's, er, attention quite so completely as regards "national affairs" both foreign and domestic.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 7:01 PM


You are a moron... The Republican Majority left the running of country's military and foreign policy to the Executive Branch. They never meddled where they had no constitutional authority to do so.

Pelosi not only is trying to establish a seperate policy, which by the way is a felony under the Logan Act and she should be prosecuted for, but she also attempted to sandbag another friendly government into negotiations under conditions that were unacceptable. Pelosi is more interested in catering to the Kos crowd's anti-Semitism (see todays edition of the KOSMAN) then in serving the interests of the nation.

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 7, 2007 12:22 AM

I posted this in another topic but it actually belongs here.

jerry wrote
You are a moron... The Republican Majority left the running of country's military and foreign policy to the Executive Branch. They never meddled where they had no constitutional authority to do so.

Oh really? Then pray tell what do you think of the following:

At the same time Congress was attaching human rights conditions to U.S. security assistance programs and negotiating a formal end-use monitoring agreement with the Colombian defense ministry, other lawmakers were secretly assuring Colombian officials that they felt such restrictions were unwarranted, and would work to either remove the conditions or limit their effectiveness.

One example of this was a congressional delegation led by Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) which met with Colombian military officials, promising to “remove conditions on assistance” and complaining about “leftist-dominated” U.S. congresses of years past that “used human rights as an excuse to aid the left in other countries.” Hastert said he would to correct this situation and expedite aid to countries allied in the war on drugs and also encouraged Colombian military officials to “bypass the U.S. executive branch and communicate directly with Congress.”


See the part where Hastert countermands the Clinton stance? Moreover Hastert actually tells the Military that they should deal DIRECTLY with Congress and NOT the WH.

THIS is a stellar example of the formation of a shadow government. According to the Republicans that went along with Pelosi, she only reitered the WH's message, a far cry from what Hastert did earlier.

Frankly, Congress shouldn't conduct business like this period but don't kid yourself into thinking that the Repubs are clean and the Dems are the dirty ones.