Now we know why Pelosi was wearing that head scarf in Damascus yesterday. It wasn’t in deference to Muslim tradition. It was to keep her brains from dribbling out of her ears:
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.
According to the statement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emphasized in his meeting with Pelosi on Sunday that “although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the Axis of Evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East.”
Olmert, the statement clarified, told Pelosi that Syria’s sincerity about a genuine peace with Israel would be judged by its willingness to “cease its support of terror, cease its sponsoring of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, refrain from providing weapons to Hizbullah and bringing about the destabilizing of Lebanon, cease its support of terror in Iraq, and relinquish the strategic ties it is building with the extremist regime in Iran.”
The statement said Olmert had not communicated to Pelosi any change in Israeli policy on Damascus.
Obviously, she should have tied the scarf a little tighter given the copious amounts of gray matter that must have oozed out during her visit to the Middle East. Or perhaps she should have used a tin foil hat:
Pelosi, who met in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Assad over the objections of US President George W. Bush, said she brought a message to Assad from Olmert saying that Israel was ready for peace talks.
“We were very pleased with the reassurances we received from the president [Assad] that he was ready to resume the peace process. He was ready to engage in negotiations for peace with Israel,” Pelosi said after meeting Assad.
She said the meeting with the Syrian leader “enabled us to communicate a message from Prime Minister Olmert that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks as well.”
According to officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, however, this was not what transpired during her meeting with Olmert.
Anyone who believes any “assurances” from that murderous thug Assad obviously needs some additional Reynolds Wrap on their tin foil beanie to deflect all the rays marked “stupid” from penetrating their skull.
Assad has given Lebanon all sorts of “assurances” that he will respect their independence and not assassinate their citizens on a regular basis. The killing of the beloved Pierre Gemayal last November would seem to give the lie to the latter. And as for the former, Assad is working closely with his Hizbullah allies to bring about a return of Syrian domination of the tiny country.
Hey! But he’s talking to a liberal Democrat so he must be telling the truth, right? Because our Nancy is so good, so pure in motive, so…so…EARNEST, she can charm the hair off of an orangutan . And the fact that both Assad and Pelosi hate Bush with a passion probably gave them a lot of common ground to reflect upon.
Someone get Matt Stoller an oxygen mask. This breathless paean to Pelosi is so off the mark that it should be listed under “wishful thinking” rather than any kind of serious analysis:
Pelosi, in going to Syria, and in telling Bush to calm down, is looking much more like a President than Bush is. Bush is even having his role as commander-in-chief challenged, by both his own ineptitude and the public’s willingness to strip him of power. By default, that power is slowly bleeding over to Pelosi, Reid, and whichever member of Congress is leading that day and filling the massive void Bush has left. This is not an ideal scenario, but it’s the one that Bush set himself up for when he refused to acknowledge the results of the 2006 elections and what that meant for his method of governance.
He may hold the constitutional office, but he is less and less the President every day. He can still do a lot of damage, but we are increasingly going to see leaders like Pelosi in positions of authority. Power abhors a vacuum, which is why Pelosi looks like a President today.
Bush may not be able to set the agenda anymore. But to doubt the power of the veto pen is stupid. And by his own admission, Bush can still “start wars” – a not inconsequential power that would bolster his standing among Americans (at least temporarily) if the President were to be dumb enough to attack Iran; something I don’t think is in the cards for the foreseeable future.
And as far as Bush’s powers as commander in chief being “stripped,” perhaps Mr. Stoller might offer an example other than the sure to be vetoed war spending bill which also is a rock solid certainty of the veto being upheld. And any attempt to cut off funds for Iraq entirely will result in a smashing, humiliating defeat for the Democrats. So unless we have some other example of Bush losing his power as Commander in Chief, perhaps Stoller should just put a sock in it.
The Washington Post also wonders where Pelosi’s brains have gone:
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.
The Post is too kind. Why is this so surprising? The Democrats have sought to undermine this President’s foreign policy almost from day one. They have ridiculed his support of democratic reforms in the Middle East. They have undercut his authority by making the wildest, most baseless charges about why we are fighting in Iraq. They have gone to tremendous lengths to even question his legitimacy by constantly posing the most outrageous conspiracy theories about “stolen elections” – despite the fact that independent forums have confirmed the President’s victory in 2000 and only the looniest of Democrats actually believe that the 2004 election was won by Kerry.
There is much to criticize in the Bush presidency – a lackadaisical attitude toward important issues, cronyism (which certainly leads to questions of competence), an overarching drive to politicize government, and a reliance on loyalty as a determining factor in personnel decisions – to name a few.
But Pelosi’s performance in Syria – played to the hilt by the Syrian press who didn’t mention any of Pelosi’s traveling companions or any of the Republican lawmakers who also visited Assad – proves that she is a not ready for prime time national leader. Her egregious error in misinterpreting Prime Minister Olmert’s “message” and her jaw dropping myopia about Assad’s “assurances” brand her as an amateur’s amateur.
As long as she’s wearing the scarf, perhaps we should tell her to “Get Thee to a Nunnery.” Anything would be better than the disaster she’s already perpetrated and the confusion she’s already sown.
The normally placid Ed Morrissey has some tough words for the Democrats:
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.