Congressional Democrats are over the line

Published 11:11 pm Monday, April 16, 2007

By By Tray Smith
No sooner could Nancy Pelosi step off of the plane shuttling her home from Damascus than did rumors of her taking a trip to another foreign country-Iran-emerge. These global travels would be fine and dandy if the speaker was simply carrying out her Constitutional responsibility as a Congresswoman and using these foreign trips as fact finding missions. (After all, who objects to having Nancy Pelosi out of the county for a few days?) But she is not. After her fellow House Democrat Tom Lantos made clear that "Democrats have their own foreign policy" Pelosi delivered a message to Syria's dictator in chief on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, stating that Israel was ready to negotiate peace. Olmert denies ever having said such a thing.
There is nothing wrong with Democrats having a foreign policy of their own, although the merits of that policy can be easily disputed. However, there is a major problem with Democrats enforcing a foreign policy of their own because, constitutionally, the power of negotiating with foreign entities lies in the White House. Unlike several of our fellow nations abroad, we do not have a parliamentary system, and the leader of our legislative branch is not the leader of our entire government. Until the country elects a new President or he is removed from office, George W. Bush is our head of state, thus the only public official responsible for and capable of setting our nation's foreign policy.
And while one may disagree with some of the decisions that Bush has made, it is hard to conclude that the democratic process which allows him to make those decisions is flawed. As long as public officials are in the United States, they can and should healthily debate and discuss our policy. Doing so is one of the foundations of our nation. But as soon as public officials are out of our borders, they must support the President of the United State's decisions. We cannot speak to our allies around the world from 535 different voices coming from each individual member of Congress. And we cannot speak to our allies around the world with two contrasting voices, one coming from the White House and the other coming from Congress, leaving them dumbfounded as to what our official policy is.
The truth, however, is that Nancy Pelosi is not concerned with improving foreign relations. Instead, she is setting down with leaders of hostile nations advocating relations that are the direct opposite of the policies the Bush administration has pursued. This is not because of her dedicated love of our country, this is part of a concentrated effort on the part of Congressional Democrats to undermine the President's governing authority.
This effort has led the Democrats to attack the administration on every front in every way. They are currently dragging Justice Department officials into Congressional Committee rooms, berating them about the firing of several prosecutors who served at the President's discretion. Now, they are trying to prove, yet again, that Bush administration officials lied to cover up something, even though the something they supposedly tried to cover up is not illegal and with precedent.
The Democrats have also blocked the appointment of Sam Fox as the new U.S. ambassador to Belgium because of Fox's financial contribution to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the organization that revealed fraud in John Kerry's war record during the 2004 election. Now that the President has announced he will give Fox a recess appointment, which he is entitled to do under the Constitution, Democratic leaders are questioning whether that authority is as broad as this President, and every President before him, has interpreted it to be.
On the Iraq war, the Democrats have continuously fought the President on strategy, even though the Constitution clearly makes the President the commander in chief of the United States armed forces. They are tying certain stipulations to spending bills that will only hamstring our commanders on the ground and move us in the direction of defeat. They are trying to run a war by committee, because they want to undercut President Bush's ability to implement his new war plan.
All of these actions bring the Democrats closer to their ultimate goal of establishing not a government of separate branches, but of completely marginalizing the executive branch so that they can improve their chances in 2008. I understand that some people may disagree with elements of President Bush's foreign policy, as I do. I understand that some people may disagree with the current war strategy, on which I have complex thoughts. However, trying to stop these policies by undercutting the Presidents authority and negotiating with world leaders, regulating our troops at war, berating our justice department officials and preventing public service due to the support one has given to a certain political cause is over the line. Much of it is also unconstitutional. Democrats do not recognize the authority of anyone besides other Democrats. When they were in the minority, Senate Democrats prevailed in filibustering almost every Republican policy. Now that they are in the majority, they are undercutting the executive branch so that they may govern unrestrictedly.
That is the bottom line.
Tray Smith is a sophomore at ECHS and former intern in the Riley administration. He can be reached for comment at

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