Nancy Pelosi in Syria
Ok, I haven't had anything to say on this absurd controversy in part because it is so absurd, and also because other folks have covered this story so well. Josh Marshall has been all over this story and has provided a wealth of information. There is a great video blog post on the Israeli denial that Speaker Pelosi carried a message to Assad. Also this commentary on Richard Holbrooke's appearance on Hardball. There is plenty more at TPM. The whole controversy can be summed up with this from Holbrooke
I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion by a deliberate ambush plan by the opposition, in this case the Republicans, and frankly, exploited by journalists who are just looking for a fake controversy. There is no issue here. Congressman Wolf, a major Republican, was in the region a few days earlier. Republicans were on her trip. There's no issue. None.There is no issue. None.
But one other thing about the conservative view of our times and our nation is highlighted by this whole controversy. Our system of government makes plentiful use of critical review to reach policy decisions. There is a constant process of debate and discussion on all aspects of policy. That includes foreign affairs and national security. This can be seen in the fact that every Speaker of the House for the past thirty years or more, has been involved with foreign policy, has made trips abroad and has spoken with foreign leaders. This discussions have not always, perhaps not generally, been in complete harmony with the White House. This is the way our system works, and while it is at times awkward, it is in fact a strength. A great strength. We are not weaker because of this open debate, we are stronger, much stronger because of it.
Now there may well be times when a single, clear, unchallenged position is necessary if a nation is to overcome the dangers it faces. We today, however, are not in such a time. The Russians at Stalingrad, the battle of Britain, Washington at Valley Forge. These are not like what we face today, for all the conservative histrionics to the contrary. We are vastly safer, vastly more secure than any of these situations, indeed than almost any people at any time in history. We are, beyond doubt, not in the kind of desperate situation that would preclude the normal state of affairs where a Speaker of the House of Representatives can freely go and speak with foreign leaders.