Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Pelosi in Damascus; Bush Cranky

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lead a congressional delegation to Damascus, and was hailed in one local article as almost an Eva Peron type figure. Her visit with Syrian President Assad ruffled some feathers back home, as Bush blurts out continually insightful passages:

From the treasonous NYT: President George W. Bush criticized Ms. Pelosi’s visit today during a news conference at the White House. He said the visit sent “mixed signals” that “lead the Assad government to believe they are part of the mainstream of the international community, when in fact they are a state sponsor of terror”.

But why didn't he make the same fuss when a congressional delegation of three Republicans (Congressmen Robert Aderholt, Joe Pitts, and Frank Wolf) visited Syria met separately with Assad on Sunday ?

This is probably a case of Bush trying to get the publicity associated with attacking Pelosi's ad hoc diplomacy (or just attacking Pelosi ad hoc) and hoping no one would notice the members of his own party sneaking into the country the day before (oops). The White House may have figured that it could claim in hindsight that the "mixed signals" to which it was referring were the multiple congressional delegations. That is, "shoot, we sent over a bunch of Republicans just the day before to deliver our message, so Nancy's just getting in the way and clouding the picture."

Of course, that gets messy when you realize that the administration has gone out of its way in the recent past to say that there's no message to deliver...

In the end, it's clear that the White House now values at least some engagement with its "enemies" but is likely slamming Pelosi's visit to appease the hard-line faction of its base. Hardly seems like a productive strategy.

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