The reference in the title to the Lincoln Bedroom alludes to a practice Bill Clinton inaugurated of renting out this White House bedroom to big-time donors.
By the same token, I’m wondering whether the American People’s House is for hire too. The White House is fulminating because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is playing a dangerous game. Fox News explains:
The Obama administration reportedly is fuming over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to address Congress in March regarding the Iranian threat, with one unnamed official telling an Israeli newspaper he will pay “a price” for the snub. …
… In public, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest politely describes this as a “departure” from protocol. He also says the president will not meet with Netanyahu when he visits in early March, but has attributed that decision only to a desire not to influence Israel’s upcoming elections.
But in private, Obama’s team is livid with the Israeli leader, according to Haaretz.
“We thought we’ve seen everything,” a source identified as a senior American official was quoted as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don’t do.
“He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”
Background via The Atlantic:
Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday asked [Natanyahy] back to address a joint meeting of Congress for the second time in less than four years. In fact, Netanyahu would become the first foreign leader since Winston Churchill to appear before Congress three times. (He also spoke during his first run as prime minister in 1996.)
This invitation, however, is even more important for a number of reasons. First, the February 11 speech will come just over a month before Israel’s legislative elections, and the prestige of an address to Congress could boost Netanyahu domestically. (Never mind that it was Netanyahu’s own Likud party that accused Obama of interfering in Israel’s elections just two years ago.) Yet it also coincides with a mounting confrontation between Congress and President Obama over Iran sanctions legislation, and Boehner pointedly announced the invitation just about 12 hours after the president, during his State of the Union address, pleaded with lawmakers to give nuclear talks with Tehran more time.
This is not the first time Prime Minister Netanyahu has pulled a self-serving political maneuver by inserting himself into American politics. This time, Bibi’s move may backfire. Obama is a dreadful cur, all right, but he is OUR mongrel.
In any case, it was an abomination when Mexican President Felipe Calderon was allowed to address the Congress in May of 2010, and it is an abomination for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have been permitted to issue forth before a joint session of the American Congress. Calderon, you recall, was toiling tirelessly for the benefit of millions of Mexicans living in the US illegally. From the White House Rose Garden, and then again in an address to Congress, he chastised overrun Arizonans for “forcing our people to face discrimination.”
Netanyahu is not as bad as all that (I’ve always “supported” him, in as much as a writer who is not a Fifth Columnist can.) And both these respective foreign leaders are patriots, looking out for their countrymen.
The American people’s representatives are the traitors here. (This time, it’d the stupid Republicans.) For it is they who’ve permitted this reoccurring spectacle; it is they who’ve turned the American People’s House into a House for hire; a one-way exchange program for foreign dignitaries.
Whose House is it, anyway?
UPDATE I(1/24): POLITICAL PROPRIETY. Reply to Facebook Thread:
It’s frustrating how intellectually inflexible readers are these days. For the most, they did not read (or absorb) the rationale of the post, simply because it is impartial, non-partisan, and articulates matters of decorum and political propriety from an American, not that of a Fifth Column’s, perspective. Why I say that readers reject reason and, rather, respond with the gut? The post says explicitly that letting Mexico’s PM parade his opinions in America’s parliament is just as pathetic/wrong; just as vulgar. There is no anger against Bibi; I like him a LOT. There is simply that matter, I repeat, of political propriety.
UPDATE II: Founders & Foreign Entanglements.
Yoni Isaacson: It is not uncommon for visiting heads of state to address the hosts Parliament though. Here,, Congress is just trying to reclaim its role as a centre of power that has been eroded so much by executive presidents. What a way to do it.
4 hrs · Like
Ilana Mercer: From the fact that it is not-uncommon, it doesn’t follow that is right. We do not judge right or wrong by might or majority or frequency of occurrence. However, your assertion, Yoni, is not necessarily correct. It is quite uncommon in the US to invite foreign leaders to yuk it up—make a case for their policy of choice— in the people’s Congress. (Obama certainly did not speak in the Knesset last he visited Israel. And why should he have?!!) The American Founders were very clear about staying out of foreign entanglements.
UPDATE III: PROCESS VS.CONTENT.
Craig Smith: Ilana, From experience, I know where you stand. but I was taken aback by that particular column. From an initial perspective there is a very abstract common denominator in the two cases. Beyond that, neither the circumstances behind nor purpose of the Mexican and the Israeli Prime Ministers appearing in the WH and Congress, respectively, are at all the same. I know you know this, and you went on to address that point in your comment above. Yes, I had a gut reaction. I do that sometimes.
Ilana Mercer: Craig Smith, it’s about process, not content. I don’t want any foreign dignitary appealing to my corrupt representatives. The American System, Craig Smith, is a system emphasizing process. It doesn’t say that we should honor freedom of religion only with the good religions.