THERE’S A LOT OF THIS GOING AROUND…. Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) ran into a little trouble this week when he told a national television audience, “I would not have intervened” in Libya, shortly after demanding that President Obama intervene in Libya.
As it turns out, he’s not the only one. A variety of Republican officials have discovered they were for intervention before they were against it.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., endorsed a no-fly zone in a Feb. 26th press release when she said “stronger penalties must be imposed in order to hold the regime accountable for its heinous crimes, and to prevent further violence against the Libyan people. Additional U.S. and international measures should include the establishment and enforcement of a no-fly zone…”
But after the President imposed the no-fly zone, on March 20th, Ros-Lehtinen had concerns which she expressed in a new press release.
“I am concerned that the President has yet to clearly define for the American people what vital United States security interests he believes are currently at stake in Libya,” she said.
Remember, she’s the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, not just some random backbencher with a fleeting interest in international developments.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) condemned the Obama administration two weeks ago for not taking action in Libya, and then criticized the Obama administration on Sunday for taking action in Libya.
Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, calling for U.S. intervention in Libya last month, said it’s in “our vital national interests” to assist anti-Gadhafi rebels. On Monday, the Republican said the administration’s mission lacks a “compelling U.S. national interest.”
There’s no point in even being disappointed in the lack of depth in Republican leaders’ approach to the issue — this is now the norm — but it’s still worth appreciating that the foreign policy for much of the Republican Party in 2011 is, “We don’t like President Obama.”
Remember when the GOP used to consider foreign policy its dominant issue? No matter how much it struggled on domestic policy, the Republican Party could be counted on to be the grown-ups when it came to national security and international affairs?
Those days are gone.