In the debate over the House resolution condemning Turkey for the Armenian genocide of 1915, there's been little discussion of precedent. But there is one. In 2000, House speaker Dennis Hastert was confronted with much the same dilemma. As the boss explained on Fox's Special Report earlier this week:
The Congress is being totally irresponsible and partisan. This is mostly, always this has been a resolution of particular interest to Democrats. This was brought up in 2000. President Clinton called the Republican Speaker Hastert, and said this will hurt our ability to maintain the no-fly zone in Iraq. We need Turkish cooperation on a bunch of issues, please do not bring this to the floor. And it passed the Foreign Affairs Committee by a much larger vote in 2000. Speaker Hastert never brought it to the floor. He thought it would damage the national security interest of the United States. We were not at war then. We were just maintaining a no-fly zone over Iraq. It is really irresponsible for Speaker Pelosi to bring this to the floor, even though the Turkish government is being silly as well.
Of course, Pelosi wasn't quite so deft in her handling of the situation as Hastert. Last week she went out on a limb, confidently declaring that the measure "has come out of committee and it will go to the floor." But, with support for the measure collapsing even among her closest allies, Pelosi has backtracked today:
"Whether it will come up or not, or what the action will be, remains to be seen," Pelosi told reporters.
There are a lot of rumors as to why the House Dems backed away from the resolution. Some speculation has focused on possible behind the scenes maneuvering by Hillary. Others have pointed to a a weekend call from President Bush to Pelosi (she denies that took place), but we think the most likely explanation is that Pelosi, spending an afternoon taking counsel from the Fox News All-Stars, decided to heed the wisdom of precedent and follow a more prudent course of action.
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