The amusement and glee many prominent conservatives displayed at the US’s loss of the 2016 Olympics to Brazil may have seemed like a harmless bit of partisan bickering, but underlying that attitude is a dangerous attempt to subvert US foreign policy at a critical time, left-wing bloggers are saying.
It is a generally accepted — though sometimes broken — rule of politics that competing parties criticize each other at home, not abroad. But that rule now appears to be ignored more often than it is observed, as Republican politicians take to the world’s stages to criticize President Barack Obama’s policies on everything from climate change to the coup in Honduras to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
A recent post by Eric Kleefeld at TalkingPointsMemo outlines numerous Obama administration policies that Republicans have taken to criticizing abroad. The most recent case was that of Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s visit to Honduras on Friday.
DeMint (R-SC) was a supporter of the military-backed coup in that country since it took place in July. But after word spread that the interim Honduran government had suspended civil liberties, DeMint found himself backtracking, telling TPM that wasn’t taking sides and extracting promises from the Honduran government that civil liberties would be restored.
Ruth Calvo at FireDogLake calls DeMint’s trip “sedition.”
“While our usually deluded wingers are comfortable working against the public interest, outright sedition is a new tactic,” she writes. “While [Texas Governor Rick] Perry and [Minnesota Governor Tim] Pawlenty espouse the virtues of secession, actual interference with US foreign policy is treason of a more active variety.”
The word “treason” also figures prominently in a recent column by blogger mcjoan at DailyKos. “At least, [treason is] what it would have been called by Republicans if Dems had done this during the Bush administration,” mcjoan wrote.
The blogger posited:
The only similar situation that comes to mind under the Bush administration was when Reps. David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson visited Iraq prior to the American invasion. Prior to the invasion. They came back convinced that there were no WMD in Iraq, and that the Bush administration was hellbent on taking us into that war, anyway. And they were, and continue to be excoriated by the Right for that trip.
Kleefeld’s column also points to Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe’s plans to put together a “truth squad” he will take with him to this fall’s climate summit in Copenhagen. According to Mother Jones:
Inhofe told the National Review Online that his squad (he has not yet named any participants) will make it clear to world leaders that although the House passed the Waxman-Markey bill and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will probably approve a bill as well, the United States Congress isn’t going to pass climate legislation anytime soon—no way, no how.
Apparently President Barack Obama’s speech to the UN on Tuesday only spurred on Inhofe’s desire to send a truth squad, if only because the address didn’t include enough specifics (which, by the way, is also bugging environmentalists).
This past summer US House Rep. Eric Cantor was heavily criticized for taking a trip to Israel and attacking the Obama administration’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Cantor told the local press that Obama should stop focusing on Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and focus instead on the “existential threat” posed to Israel by Iran.
“The central issue here is whether elected officials should travel abroad to criticize and undermine the foreign policy of the American government,” Steve Benen wrote at the Washington Monthly. “If Cantor and his pals want to trash the US approach from the floor of the House or in a press release, that’s merely annoying. But for them to go to foreign soil and work against the sitting president is pathetic, even by the low standards of House Republicans.”
Between the perceived undermining of foreign policy, the resistance to health care and climate change legislation, and the glee expressed at Chicago’s loss of the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro, it’s all too much for DailyKos blogger Nuisance Industry, who tells the Republicans, “Get out of my country.”
We get it. You hate not just our president, but our country. You hate us for our freedoms. You’d rather have our people die [than] provide them health care that doesn’t bankrupt them. You’d rather risk catastrophic damage to the environment rather than doing something about greenhouse gases. You actively fantasize about killing the president and hamstringing government from doing the work of government. … The United States loses the opportunity to host the Olympics, and you’re thrilled, simply because you can’t stand that the president is a Democrat?
Tell me this, why the fuck do you stay here?