‘The level of hypocrisy is what amazes me’

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)
Associated Press

I’m curious if anyone has even bothered to push back against arguments like these.

“What has fascinated me more than anything is this,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.). “Does anyone truly believe that if Mitt Romney had been elected president and had asked House Republicans for exactly what President Obama is asking, that House Republicans would oppose it to the extent that they’re opposed to what President Obama wants? The level of hypocrisy is what amazes me.”

“Let’s not be fooled. I don’t know of any credible analyst who believes that if Mitt Romney had been elected president and produced this same exact resolution that you would see the whip counts in the Republican caucus that you see today,” he added.

Are Republicans seriously prepared to deny this? Is Mitch McConnell?

I suppose this is about the point at which some will suggest Democrats are equally guilty of playing politics with foreign policy and national security, but recent evidence points in the exact opposite direction.

For much of the Bush/Cheney era, Democrats were, often to the chagrin of their base, willing to be constructive partners with Republicans – large numbers of Democratic lawmakers voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq in large numbers; they backed the PATRIOT Act; and they approved a revised FISA law. Democrats could have simply said they opposed Bush/Cheney, and voted accordingly, but they took the notion of a “loyal opposition” seriously.

Likewise, if Democrats were reflexive partisans on questions like these, we’d also see Dem lawmakers lining up in droves to endorse President Obama’s proposed intervention in Syria. Except, that’s not happening, either.

Republicans, on the other hand, are putting on an extraordinary display – up to and including their condemnations of the president’s “red line’ standard that they themselves embraced last year.

Kevin Drum added the other day, “When Obama wanted to stay out of Syria, they spent hours on Fox sputtering about his lack of leadership and insisting that we had to do more to bring down the Assad regime. But now that Obama is proposing to do exactly what they asked for, suddenly they’re spending hours on Fox explaining why it would be foolish to enmesh ourselves in a brutal and intractable civil war five thousand miles away. It’s pretty stomach turning.”

Or as Rachel put it on the show last night, “It would be awesome at times like this for the opposition party in Washington to be a useful part of the debate. Hard-fought fights are better fights than fights that are wussy, right? The more contentious the discussion sometimes the more rigorous the discussion. Instead, though, a lot of the more substantive discussion and debate is happening just inside one our two parties. It’s happening inside the president’s party, among Democrats, who respect each other but who do strongly disagree on this issue.”

When Bill Kristol predicted two weeks ago, “I think the Republican Party will step up and do the right thing and support the president against a chemical-weapons-using, terror-sponsoring, Iran-backed dictator,” it was fairly easy to believe he was right. But what quickly followed was a fight that pitted the Republican Party’s foreign-policy priorities against the Republican Party’s contempt for the Commander in Chief during a national security crisis.

The policy priorities never stood a chance.

Steve Israel, Foreign Policy and Syria

'The level of hypocrisy is what amazes me'