In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry infamously stated, in connection with an Iraq War spending resolution, that "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida has done her own John Kerry imitation. She was against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress earlier this week, and expressed her disapproval by boycotting it. But in a press release issued shortly after that speech, she effusively praised it. The Tampa Bay Tribune's Alex Leary noted the breathtaking switcheroo on Tuesday. The rest of the establishment press has been utterly uninterested. There's even more to this story, as will be seen after the jump.
Strangely, the press release Leary received and posted is not on the list of March press releases at Brown's web site.
Thinking that it perhaps might have been misdated, I did a word search for "Netanyahu" on the press releases page. I found his name on a release dated May 25, 2011, the day after his last speech to Congress.
With only a couple of sentences added this time around, it turns out that the press release Leary and presumably others in the press received on Tuesday is a virtual word-for-word copy of Brown's May 2011 release.
What follows is the statement Leary posted. The only new material, i.e., verbiage not contained in the May 2011 release, is in bold:
Congresswoman Corrine Brown, a strong supporter and friend of the Jewish nation of Israel, wholeheartedly applauded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his address today to a joint session of Congress:
“As a longtime supporter of the state of Israel and active Member of the Democratic-Israel-Working-Group Caucus (DIWG), I stand with the Jewish state in its continued quest for peace and prosperity for its people and for the world. Beyond a doubt, Israel is located in a difficult part of the world, surrounded by countries and extremist organizations bent on its destruction. Nations such as Iran, and terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, who are committed to Israel’s destruction, are aided and abetted by nations like Iran, to achieve that goal. As our partner and chief democratic ally in the Middle East, I believe that the United States must continue to do everything possible to support Israel in its quest for self-defense. Certainly, the $3 billion in yearly U.S. foreign assistance to help the state of Israel’s defense is money very well spent.
Israel’s history, based on the incredible resilience and perseverance of its people, is a story of courage and success in the face of seemingly impossible odds. For 67 years now (the May 2011 release originally read "63 years now" —Ed.), Israel has stood out as a democratic beacon in a region mired by instability and dictatorial regimes.
Beyond a doubt (the May 2011 release originally read "To me" —Ed.), Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech today encapsulated the importance of the friendship and bond between our two nations. As Americans, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to the security of our loyal ally— in an alliance we have had since President Truman announced America's recognition of the Jewish state just minutes after its independence was declared in 1948. Beyond a doubt, the friendship between the United States and Israel is founded on common principles – and it is because of those principles that in a bipartisan fashion, both Democrats and Republicans continue to advocate jointly on behalf of the Jewish state, and I reiterate my strong support for the nation of Israel. (the May 2011 release added: "and look forward to the day when Israeli families and children can live free from fear; and when Israel can finally achieve the dream of peace and security.”)
In closing, I would like to borrow from the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu: ‘Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years...Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them…May Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead...(and) may we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.’”
The congresswoman's even lamer explanation accompanying her lame cut-and-paste job in turn relies on false establishment press reporting. Leary notes that he obtained the following explanation for Brown's boycott before the speech:
Brown was among the Democrats -- and the only from Florida -- who boycotted the speech. Her news release makes no mention of that. Her spokesman, David Simon, said her objection was over process. She watched from her office, he said. In a statement we published yesterday (i.e., before the speech — Ed.) he said:
"She believes it is completely inappropriate for the invite to have come from Speaker Boehner, who not only bypassed President Obama and the State Department but did not even inform them that the House leadership was inviting the Israeli Prime Minister to address Congress."
The problem with that explanation is that it was originally reported, but then walked back, by the New York Times.
As I noted on January 31 (bolds are mine):
... the New York Times made ... a correction to a Thursday (Jan. 29) piece by Carl Hulse and Jeremy W. Peters. The correction blew apart their write-up's entire premise, namely that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was trying to make amends with congressional Democrats and having to explain why "the White House had been circumvented before he was invited to speak before Congress."
Trouble is, the White House hadn't been circumvented at all, as the correction clearly indicated:
Correction: January 30, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.
So Brown boycotted Netanyahu's speech over a false media meme. Then her staff recycled an old press release after the Prime Minister's speech received an uproariously positive reception.
Is Corrine Brown really the best person Florida's 5th District can elect to represent them?
No matter how obscure he or she might otherwise be, news that a Republican or conservative congressperson has engaged in such actions would quickly get national coverage. But to absolutely no one's surprise, Brown's blather is nowhere to be found at the Associated Press or the New York Times.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.