"We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.
For those who don’t know, the background of this story is as follows: Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, decided that she wanted to take a trip to the Middle East to visit with foreign dignitaries, one of those nations being Syria. The United States does not maintain diplomatic relations with Syria mainly because they harbor and sponsor terrorist groups throughout the Middle East, especially within Israel. Because of that, President Bush requested that Pelosi not make the trip. This is his foreign policy. That request was denied and Pelosi, along with many other members of Congress (both Democrat and Republican) took the trip and eventually met with leaders from the Syrian government. And now begins the controversy.
What’s the big deal? Well, from a political perspective, I think Pelosi has made a big error. She is now “bringing friendship” to a terrorist-sponsoring nation, despite the objections of the Presidential administration. Her actions have drawn praise and applause from terrorist groups and she has basically reaffirmed the notion that the Democrats are soft on terror and given us all a glimpse into the foreign policy of a Democrat president – which is basically to negotiate with terrorist organizations and those nations that sponsor them. The American people will not approve of this and I suspect it will backfire tremendously. If I were Howard Dean or any other prominent Democrat, I would immediately condemn Pelosi for this as the Washington Post (arguably a liberal-slanted paper) has done. But that won’t happen. In fact, what I’m seeing is many Democrat leaders defending her trip. Big mistake.
Have you seen the pictures of the Syrian leaders with her? These guys are beaming. They see her as a sucker. Isn’t it obvious? Any moment I expect one of them to open his jacket and ask her if she wants to buy a genuine gold Rolex for ten bucks. It has long been America’s suspicion that terrorist groups favor the Democratic party, and this does nothing but verify that suspicion. And now there are terrorist groups (Palestinian militants) actually praising her visit. In addition, she misrepresented Israel’s message by saying they are “ready to negotiate for peace”, drawing an immediate response from Olmert that his position has not changed. Clearly, she leaves Damascus looking foolish and weak, which is no doubt why the Palestinian militants and the Syrian leaders love her.
I’ve heard the talking points. “She reaffirmed Bush’s foreign policy…she took a hard line…she did not contradict the administration…” blah, blah, blah. The FACT is that she DID violate Bush’s policy by making the trip and meeting with the Syrian government. It doesn’t matter what she said. That has absolutely no bearing on this issue. The President’s foreign policy is that there be no diplomatic relation with Syria until they give up their terror harboring and sponsoring behavior….period. That foreign policy is mandated by the Constitution to come from only one person, the President of the United States, and no one else, and is protected under the separation of powers.
But there’s more to this story. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial cites the Logan Act as a reason to suggest that Nancy Pelosi may have committed a felony with this visit. The facts of the law are clear. Foreign policy is dictated by the Executive Branch of government. The other two branches have no say. This is in the Constitution. The Logan Act, a result of similar disputes in America’s earlier days, was enacted to reinforce the Constitutional law for the very purpose of preventing anyone outside of the Executive branch to implement foreign policy without Presidential authority. It states clearly that a government official can NOT visit with a foreign government without Presidential authority, regardless of the purpose for that visit. It’s the law, and it appears as though Pelosi, and many other Congressmen, violated that law. It doesn’t matter if she agrees with the President or not. That is completely beside the point. She can disagree all she wants but she has no authority…none…to implement her own foreign policy, and holding a diplomatic discussion with Syria IS indeed implementing her own foreign policy. As a citizen, she has the right to travel wherever she wants, but she crosses the line of legality when she engages in diplomatic action without Presidential authority. So this transcends politics. This is not about the Speaker showing the President that he can’t tell her what to do. This is about an elected leader potentially committing a felony and clearly violating her oath to the Constitution.
Folks, this is a big story. This is about an elected leader clearly overstepping her Constitutional bounds, and I feel she should be prosecuted for it, just as I would had Gingrich done something similar while Clinton was in office.
Let’s be clear about this, because I’m sure some of you will chime in with the typical talking points. The Speaker of the House has NO right to engage in diplomatic activity without Presidential authority, especially if that activity directly violates the President’s Constitutionally-protected power of implementing US Foreign Policy. Bush did NOT grant her the authority to engage in diplomatic talks with Syria and his policy is clear…the United States will not engage in dialogue with Syria until they give up terrorism. By simply meeting with Syria’s leaders, Pelosi violated US foreign policy. Because of that, regardless of what was said, Pelosi has broken the law and must answer for that.