Why Is Eric Cantor Undermining American Foreign Policy?

Why Is Eric Cantor Undermining American Foreign Policy?


First, the weirdness…

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday during a meeting in New York that the new GOP majority in the House will “serve as a check” on the Obama administration, a statement unusual for its blunt disagreement with U.S. policy delivered directly to a foreign leader.

“Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington,” read a statement from Cantor’s office on the one-on-one meeting. “He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.”

If a Democrat would have talked to a foreign leader so bluntly, the right would have literally called for them to be jailed.

Oh wait…they did. More importantly, Cantor did.

And it was for something that wasn’t even nearly as egregious…

Presenting Assad with “a new Democratic alternative” — code for making President Bush look feckless — Mrs. Pelosi usurped the executive branch’s time-honored foreign-policy authority. Her message to Assad was that congressional Democrats will forbid the president from increasing pressure on Damascus to stop its murderous way. Several leading legal authorities have made the case that her recent diplomatic overtures ran afoul of the Logan Act, which makes it a felony for any American “without authority of the United States” to communicate with a foreign government to influence that government’s behavior on any disputes with the United States.

Wait, Pelosi went to Syria? Why’d she do that?

Because Republicans met with the Syrian President too. Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA) were part of a bipartisan visit. And yet Pelosi was accused of committing a felony?

So why does one of the highest ranking members of the GOP get to do it and we barely hear a peep? Because not only did he do something far worse than what Pelosi did…he put out a press release.

Welcome to what happens when the GOP gets a taste of power.

(h/t: Steve Benen)

  • Tully

    If a Democrat would have talked to a foreign leader so bluntly, the right would have literally called for them to be jailed.

    Oh wait…they did. More importantly, Cantor did.

    No, he didn’t. I read the Benen post and yours, and the assertion that Cantor called for the prosecution and/or jailing of Pelosi under the Logan Act, or that he personally accused her of violating it, are flat-out lies.

    You know, Justin, deliberate falsehoods. You swallowed Benen’s hyperbolic partisan hackery whole and barfed it back up without even the most minimal (and I do mean minimal) attempt at verification, even though what Benen claimed was clearly unsupported by what he offered as “evidence” of the claim.

    Not that it wouldn’t be amusing to see an admin attempt to enforce the Logan Act, which despite being around for over two centuries has not once been used to prosecute anyone. I mean, there were Ted Kennedy’s multiple attempts to get the communist USSR to help him stab both Reagn AND Carter in the back, or Carter’s perpetual wildcat freelance “diplomacy” … but overall it would be a bad idea. The court of public opinion works better there. I also suspect most of the public would not find Cantor’s assurances to a long-time US ally more “egregious” than Pelosi’s attempts to support a terrorism-linked dictatorship against said ally, but maybe that’s just me.

  • theWord


    Kindest most partisan blinded view of hypocrisy I have seen in ages. At his best he was a hypocrite just like McConnell unless you think Bush was lying in his book, your choice.

  • kranky kritter

    Can anyone explain to me why “serve as a check on the administration’s one party rule” is equivalent to “blunt disagreement?”

    I don’t get that. At all. It makes literally no sense to me.

    It says that Cantor suggested to Netanyahu that the GOP expected to be involved in foreign policy, and that such involvement would include appreciation of the ongoing America-Israel relationship.

    That doesn’t sound anything like blunt disagreement to me. Not even close. It sounds like reassurance. Especially given that Republicans are generally more prone to pro-Israeli hawkishness than democrats as a whole. For example, the entire progressive wing of the democratic party generally does not sympathize with Israel.

    So Justin, I don’t know what they hell you’re talking about or trying to suggest. How does reassurance transmogrify into blunt disagreement?

  • Tully

    It’s textbook CPD™, Kranky.

  • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

    Cantor just put out a second statement. From Huff Post:

    WASHINGTON — Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office on Monday issued a follow-up comment to one made last week, saying that the congressman would serve as a roadblock to the Obama administration approach but not when it comes to issues of Middle East diplomacy.

    A spokesman for the likely soon-to-be House Majority Leader said that there was no clarification being offered on a statement that caused a bit of controversy last week. On Monday, simply put, the office was reaffirming that while Cantor told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he planned on serving as “a check on the administration,” he would not be playing that function “in relation to U.S./Israel relations.”

    So it was just an innocent meeting where he was telling Netanyahu that he would serve as a check on the Obama administration regarding domestic policy. If you believe that then you’re believing that he thinks Netanyahu has the knowledge of a third grader who doesn’t understand how government works.

    The point remains that Eric Cantor was engaging in something that he once condemned so strongly he threatened pursuing legal action. Call that what you will on my part. I’m pointing out how hypocritical it is of him to have said something like that and then engage in something that could be considered far worse.

  • kranky kritter

    Where’s the second statement? What’s the “Obama approach” that’s allegedly going to be roadblocked. What are the objections?

    In other words, you still have NO CONTENT here. Aside from Cantor’s statement that he expects republicans to be involved in foreign policy now that they control the house.

    Which is a given. Cantor has stated exactly nothing we didn’t all know.

    You wanna compare that to something about Nancy Pelosi, be my guest. I don’t think you’ve shown anyone a single thing. Except that you like to play “democrats are better than republicans because…”

    You’re part of the problem when you do that Justin. Even worse, you’re not even interesting.

    And the worst part of all is that your attempts at equivalence are an utter mismatch for the known facts you’ve provided. I look into the background of what Cantor and Pelosi have said and done, and I find that your descriptions don’t even come close to matching what really happened.

    Cantor made a brief statement to a foreign leader (which you quoted!) that on a plain reading clearly reaffirmed our existing relationship. Not sure how that’s even the same as, never mind worse than visiting some other country in a context independent of what the President and Secretary of state might be trying to achieve.

  • Tully

    was engaging in something that he once condemned so strongly he threatened pursuing legal action

    You just don’t get the concept of “lying,” do you?

    Please show in the sources you’ve provided where Cantor at any time “threatened pursuing legal action” against Pelosi for her unauthorized Syrian vacation. Because I’ve looked over those sources and have been unable to find any such threat.