On Sen. Bob Menendez: Conservatives, be careful what you wish for

Jose R. Cardenas in Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government:

Conservatives, be careful what you wish for

No doubt many Republicans in Washington are experiencing a bit of schadenfreude over the controversies swirling around the newly installed chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Robert Menendez. He is a bare-knuckled partisan who never backs down from a political brawl. So investigations into his alleged advocacy on behalf of a major donor — including a salacious sidebar of unsubstantiated allegations about underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic — have not surprisingly stirred some to try and fan the flames of what they hope to be the Senator’s immolation.

For example, a group called the American Future Fund (touting itself as, “Advocating Conservative, Free Market Ideals”) published a full-page ad in Politico this week with the subtle title: “Senate Ethics Committee: Meet Your New Chairman of ‘Foreign Relations.'”  Har har.

Of course, if the worst of the accusations turn out to be true, then no one disputes the fact that the Senator should immediately resign and face the consequences. But there are ample reasons to hope that they are not — first and foremost, for the sake of the alleged victims. Secondly, conservatives reveling in the senator’s current predicament may want to stop and consider what Menendez’s possible fall from grace would mean for U.S. national security interests.

That’s because on key foreign policy issues during his career — pressuring Iran, defending Israel, and promoting regional security — Menendez has been stalwart and, indeed, much more hard-line than his predecessor as chairman of SFRC, John Kerry, and, more importantly, than the next two Democrats in line of succession should he lose the chairmanship: the uber-liberal California Democrat Barbara Boxer and the nondescript, party-line Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat.

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3 thoughts on “On Sen. Bob Menendez: Conservatives, be careful what you wish for”

  1. Very reasonable arguments, well presented. That said, just because Menendez is on the correct side of these issues does not make him a good Senator. He has voted for EVERY bill that is saddling the American taxpayer with burden upon burden. He has sided with progressives just about every time. When are we going to stand up and demand accountability? One good deed does not erase all of the bad deeds. Sorry. I call bullshit.

  2. George, you are an extremely intelligent and knowledgeable individual, so I therefore find your shortsightedness on this issue to be completely mind boggling. You are cheering on the demise of a liberal democrat who defends some issues you find very important while knowing full well that whoever replaces him will be an extreme leftist who will be far worse.

    You can cite accountability all you want, but that and $2 bucks will get you an espresso at Starbucks when Barbara Boxer is the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair.

    • I’m sorry, but I slam members of my former political party for not being conservative enough. There is an inconsistency here that I cannot (or will not) compute. Call it cognitive dissonance or whatever, but I just don’t get it.

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