Rep. Gohmert: Obama More Willing To Negotiate With Terrorists Than With Republicans

February 23, 2010 12:41 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

As President Obama's bipartisan health care summit nears, congressional Republicans are trying desperately to delegitimize the meeting.  Yesterday, the White House released the parameters of its plan, prompting the expected "outrage" from the right.  Some conservative lawmakers complained that the plan was too short or too long, while others have blasted Obama for devising a plan at all -- even though Republican leaders initially demanded that the administration make its plan public before the summit. 

Last night on the House floor, several Republicans members took aim at the White House proposal.  In a bizarre rant, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) claimed that Obama's plan represents a "precondition" for the talks and questioned why the president would agree to negotiate with our enemies without preconditions, but not with Republicans.  Gohmert, who at one point referred to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran as the "former president," concluded that Obama must think Republicans are "worse than terrorists."

GOHMERT: There's some great ideas contained in all these many different Republican proposals, and yet we're told you can't make any preconditions for this meeting.  And yet here's our 12-page proposal and that's our precondition. You'd meet with Ahmadinejad ...  How could somebody agree to meet with a man who is proud of being president or former president of a terrorist country and wants to destroy the United States, clearly wants to wipe Israel off the map, and you'll sit down with a nut like that with no preconditions?  But that's a terrorist; it's okay, we'll meet with no preconditions with him, but with Republicans, they're worse than terrorists.  We've got our preconditions and you can't have any. 



Gohmert has a history with this sort of wacky rhetoric, but comparing Obama's foreign policy approach to his legislative strategy is obviously ridiculous.  (It's also worth noting that while the president has met with Republicans over and over again, he hasn't actually met with Ahmadinejad.)

What's more, the suggestion that Obama's proposal is a "precondition" for anything is nonsense.  When the president first announced the summit, he said he wanted both sides to present their ideas "so that the American people can see and compare what makes the most sense." One White House official added, "We are coming with our plan. They can bring their plan." At that point, Republican leaders demanded that the administration put its proposal online -- which it did yesterday.  The "precondition" argument is just a newly invented ploy to distract the American people from the ideas on the table.