"It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." This quotation has been attributed to Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Socrates. It's too bad John Boehner doesn't seem to have taken it to heart. Here's what Boehner said on Sunday about the peace process in the Middle East.
"Well, [Netanyahu] doesn't have a partner," Boehner said. "How do you have a two-state solution when you don't have a partner in that solution, when you don't have a partner for peace, when you've got a -- when the other state is vowing to wipe you off the face of the earth?"
Really, Mr. Boehner? The Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, is vowing to wipe Israel off the face of the earth? That would be the same Palestinian Authority that has recognized Israel as a state since 1993, and which has renounced violence as a method of resistance.
To say the least, Hamas is a different story, not to mention groups like Islamic Jihad. However, without going into the complexities of an incomparably complex situation, John Boehner made a blanket statement about "the other state." That means the government officially recognized as the representative of the Palestinians. That's the government led by President Abbas. Boehner's statement wasn't an oversimplification, or a slight exaggeration, or a misperception. It was a flat-out falsehood. John Boehner has decided that he wants to conduct American Mideast policy -- despite, you know, not actually being president -- and yet he makes a statement as absurdly incorrect as this? It's simply unconscionable.
And we know why he did it. Unblinking, blind support for Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be the one issue best able to excite the Republican base. We see this in the blowback that hit James Baker after he criticized the Israeli prime minister, even as he added that the United States would "never, never, never abandon Israel." None other than Baker's best buddy's son, Jeb Bush, slammed him. Netanyahu is so untouchable among Republicans that Bill Kristol mused that "Bibi would probably win the Republican nomination if it were legal." Apparently, Ted Cruz receives his "biggest standing ovation at each event" when he proclaims his devotion to Bibi.
In the same interview with CNN, Boehner criticized President Obama as well, stating: "I think the animosity exhibited by our administration toward the prime minister of Israel is reprehensible." Never mind the fact that the Speaker of the House seems to be more supportive of a foreign government -- key ally or not -- than our own. Boehner knows that if there's one thing the Republican base likes from its politicians as much as declaring fealty to Benjamin Netanyahu, it's going after Barack Obama.