House Speaker John Boehner insists he isn't "poking anybody in the eye" by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress.
Boehner (R-Ohio) is either incredibly naive or he's spinning the facts so furiously he's lost his bearings. It's disrespectful and reckless to bypass the president of the United States and hand a foreign head of state such a prominent platform to argue against this nation's foreign policy. Netanyahu is adamantly opposed to President Barack Obama's effort to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear weapons program and supports tougher sanctions championed by the Republican-led Congress.
Approving additional sanctions now could blow up the talks, Obama said, even if their imposition would be delayed. He asked his critics to "hold their fire." Boehner should do just that. Otherwise he risks weakening Obama's hand in talks that may be the last, best hope to avoid war. Netanyahu's March 3 speech is just two weeks before he stands for re-election. So GOP congressional leaders are also inappropriately interfering in a political campaign in Israel in which even some intelligence officials disagree with Netanyahu's stance on Iran. Giving him a prestigious foreign setting to air his views could give him an edge over opposing candidates.
This is politics run amok to the detriment of the U.S. presidency and the nation.