Of All the Things to Get the Village Up In Arms about Republicans, It’s the Netanyahu Visit?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s snub of President Obama at John Boehner’s invitation is all the rage in Washington these days–and not in a good way. Even Fox News commentators lambasted both Republicans and Netanyahu not only for the transparent campaign ploy for his re-election, but also for breaking the protocols of Washington decorum. Politico today ran a blistering broadside by David Rogers titled “There Are No Rules Anymore.”

All the criticism is right, of course. Both Boehner and Netanyahu are guilty of massive political overreach, making an unprecedented and foolish insult to the President of the United States, the single most important person for Israeli security. And all, apparently, over disagreements over Iran policy–disagreements on which Netanyahu and Republicans are transparently wrong, as more bellicose policy against Iran will only make the problem worse and harm Israel’s security. On the American domestic side, it’s a wildly inappropriate move by Republicans, essentially co-opting a foreign power to desperately try to win a few political points against the President with their evangelical base and maybe with the votes of a few American Jews.

But really, of all the things for Fox News and the Washington establishment to turn on Republicans for, it’s this? A protocol breach that basically amounts to the diplomatic version of little Susie not getting invited to Nancy’s tea party with the rest of her stuffed animals? Everyone already knows that Netanyahu hates Obama, and everyone got a chance to see how comically pouty was Boehner’s reaction to the President’s State of the Union address.

Where was all the outrage when Republicans literally lied the country into war with Iraq? Or repeatedly cut food stamps for no reason? Or shut down the government? Or voted over 50 times to prevent people with pre-existing conditions from having access to health insurance? Or voted for the Paul Ryan budget? Or refused to acknowledge human-made climate change?

Somehow all of those crucial things that harm millions of people and weaken our national security became partisan issues for the Village Center to tut tut about and ask for compromise. But Boehner and Netanyahu’s social snub is somehow the last straw.

That says a lot about the Washington elite and where their misplaced priorities are.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.