Who’s the patriot?

The new Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress of the United States of America declines invitations to  official State Dinners of the United States of America – unless George Bush invites him. Apparently. And he thinks it’s okay – or even clever. It is not.

He is the third in line to the Presidency of the United States of America and when this nation formally and most diplomatically entertains the leader of our greatest competitor, a country likely to challenge us for ‘great power’ leadership, he is supposed to be there, supporting his government. It’s his frackin’ job.

FAIL, Mr. Boehner,  big time FAIL.

A few words on that from Jena McGregor’s “On Leadership” column in today’s Washington Post.

” [This] marks the third time the Republican leader has skipped a state dinner during Obama’s administration. But [the] rationale that Boehner doesn’t believe in Washington’s pomp apparently didn’t stop him from attending a 2007 state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II during George W. Bush’s presidency. The white tie dinner for more than 100 guests included caviar, champagne and dover sole.

Some etiquette experts have looked aghast at Boehner’s decline. Politics Daily quotes Anita McBride, chief of staff to former First Lady Laura Bush, as saying that “you really have to be sick, dead or dying to regret a state dinner invitation.” Meanwhile, Letitia Baldridge, who was social secretary to President Kennedy, had even sharper words . . . Boehner’s decision was “short-sighted and a failing of his duty.”

[the columnist adds]  “he should deal with it for an evening. Leadership requires that people do things they don’t like all the time, whether it’s attending a fancy dinner or negotiating on thorny issues with opponents.

A leader at Boehner’s level should actually want to take every opportunity to present a unified front to other countries.”

Suppose he’s declining these invitations to sit down with foreign heads of State for an altogether and far more troubling reason – suppose he wants allies and adversaries to perceive the leader of our country as weak? If that’s the case, his rudeness does damage to the country he claims to love. China conceivably could see Boehner’s snub as evidence that the United States is a disjointed, politically unstable country.

13 responses to “Who’s the patriot?

  1. Hm.. I suspect a part of it is the binary notion that there are currently two seperate Americas. The one that GOP represent, and that other one. Which they don’t recognize or give any legitimacy at all. So screw the those in power – they are irrelevant anyways. A State Dinner doesn’t matter – when the others are representing the “State”.

    Like they already conduct their own foreign policy from the House with Rep. Cantor towards Israel, on behalf of the “real” America. They just make their own rules.


  2. I see the Republican Derangement Syndrome is in full force here today. That’s not too surprising I suppose.

    I do, however, get a kick out of Moe’s giving the Dem (Domestic Enemy), Reid a pass though.

    I also get a kick out of the immediate assumption that it was Obama being snubbed and not filthy freak from China – who the Dems’ precious Reid described as a “dictator”.

    It never occurs to Obama cultists that it’s not about Him. It also never occurs, or is mentioned, that politics is a complex game and that Obama’s “atmospherics” have to give way to real work at some point.

    Boehner and the others are meeting with Hu today for “substantive” talks and snubbing him beforehand is a good way to put him in his proper place.


    • A second-tier politician nobody had ever heard of two years ago is not in a position to put the leader of any nation “in his place.” Hu would be within his rights to brush off Boehner or any of the other B-listers as unworthy peasants.

      All that aside, taking one’s ball and going home is generally considered gauche beyond about age 5.


      • Yes. Boehner is, whether you like it or not, in that exact position. No laws start elsewhere than the House and Boehner is Speaker.

        Frankly, Obama’s “atmospherics” are largely meaningless in this case. That’s good because he’s not in Hu’s league.


    • jonolan, you’ve got it very wrong on the ‘why’ of Boehner not showing up.
      From aol news: “The snub marks the third consecutive Obama-thrown State Dinner that Boehner will skip, including receptions for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.”

      Even if he refused to go based on his personal antipathy, he’s still wrong. He’s an important senior member of a government and he doesn’t get to have his own foreign policy. As the aol story seems to show, this is political.


      • He also made a habit of “snubbing” Bush, with the exception of Queen Elizabeth II’s visit. I assume he’s a fan of hers.

        A lot of people want to turn this into something because they’ve been trying to play up the antagonism between the two men. Oddly, both men have denied any bad blood though.


    • Also – you are right that Reid isn’t going either, but as he’s of the president’s own party, it doens’t have the same significance.


  3. Hu is the leader of China. Like it or not, like him or not, it is the duty of the Speaker and anyone invited to the dinner to attend. It’s a matter of showing a strong front, good manners, civility. Snubbing, not talking, all those elementary school tactics have no place at this level of diplomacy. Worst of all, it will not accomplish Boehner’s goal of “putting Hu in his place.” What place? He’s the leader of China. China who owns a huge chunk of American debt!


    • Great point woodstock – if we borrow their money, you don’t get to blow them off. Boehner is giving a ‘Bronx cheer’ to a nation when he plays this juvenile game.


  4. This from the great MahRussie. Think of it. President Obama is the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Sitting down with the jailer of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to a State dinner. The Chinese and President Obama get along great together because politically they need each other. Obama needs the Chi coms to buy our debt and the Chinese need Obama to run his deficits so they will have debt to buy.


    • So, did Boehner act like a grown up becasue he saw through the diabolical plans of Obama to make the Chinese rich?

      USA – China – Alan, it’s not about Obama or Hu; ask Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton and GW Bush – also Mao, Deng Choi Ping et al.


  5. jonolan: Wow, have you read this or any other “Liberal Blog” I mean really read them, most if not all have voiced criticism of both the president and his party…at least to some degree.

    You might try this sort of honesty…

    Obama Cultist? Here? No!

    Nice try though…


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