Does Mr. Obama deserve to be embarrassed in this way? Of course he does! In his long years in the presidency he has demonstrated no regard for the Republicans of Congress, and now they are showing no regard for him.
But it is still a bad move, a damaging snub that makes divisions more dramatic, and not only between Congress and the president. Mr. Obama is forced to decide whether to invite Mr. Netanyahu to visit the White House while he is in Washington. The White House announced it will not, pointedly attributing the decision to “the proximity to the Israeli election.” This too is a snub, and it is hard to see how it does anything to fortify U.S.-Israeli relations.
Worst of all is the costly precedent the invitation risks setting.
When the Democratic Party wins a majority in Congress, and someday it will, it can do the same thing to a Republican president—bring over for a great joint session address, at a dramatic moment, a foreign leader with whom that president is in opposition or deep tension.