Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 20, 2009

THE HANDSHAKE.... It's early Monday, and you know what that means: time for a new coordinated conservative tantrum. The freak-out over the Department of Homeland Security and domestic threats is so last week. The new fit is over President Obama shaking hands with the President of Venezuela at the Summit of the Americas.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tore into President Barack Obama Monday for his friendly greeting of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying Obama is bolstering the "enemies of America."

Gingrich appeared on a number of morning talk shows comparing Obama to President Jimmy Carter for the smiling, hearty handshake he offered Chavez, one of the harshest critics of the United States, during the Summit of the Americas. [...]

Two Republican senators, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and John Ensign of Nevada, joined in the criticism Monday, with Ensign calling Obama's greeting of Chavez "irresponsible."

Obama apparently expected the excessive whining, and noted over the weekend the "great differences" he has with Chavez, including the Venezuelan president's "inflammatory" rhetoric and his unhelpful role in Latin America.

"It's unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez that we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States," Obama told reporters. "I don't think anybody can find any evidence that that would do so. Even within this imaginative crowd, I think you would be hard-pressed to paint a scenario in which U.S. interests would be damaged as a consequence of us having a more constructive relationship with Venezuela."

That, of course, doesn't matter. Gingrich & Co. need a new meme, and they settled on this one over the weekend.

What I find odd, though, is the underlying message. Leading Republicans make it sound as if America's stature is so fragile, it is easily weakened by casual courtesies at an international forum. President Obama, in contrast, acts as if America's stature is strong, and can withstand a handshake with a foreign head of state. Since when does the GOP find it useful to promote the idea of American weakness?

Obama added, "We had this debate throughout the campaign, and the whole notion was, is that somehow if we showed courtesy or opened up dialogue with governments that had previously been hostile to us, that that somehow would be a sign of weakness -- the American people didn't buy it. And there's a good reason the American people didn't buy it -- because it doesn't make sense."

Sensible or not, White House critics are hyperventilating today. One Fox News personality said Obama and Chavez were "fist bumping and making lovey dovey." Another said the two presidents were "sittin in a tree...K I S S I...."

You can watch the video -- and the body language -- of Obama's brief exchange with Chavez; the two shook hands but did not appear close. Sometimes, U.S. presidents meet foreign leaders we're not fond of, and sometimes, relations between two countries improve.

Really, though, it doesn't matter. The U.S. president was photographed shaking hands with the twice-elected head of state of a large South American democracy at a forum for hemispheric leaders. That's it. That's the whole story. That's what has Republicans screaming today. It's painfully absurd.

Steve Benen 12:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (70)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Rumsfeld-Saddam handshake photo, anyone?

Noriega-GHWB photo?

Reagan at Bitburg paying homage to SS troops?

Posted by: Speed on April 20, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

GOP mythology requires the U.S. to demonize the countries we have issues with. Republicans are screaming because Obama is showing how infantile and counterproductive this mythology is.

Posted by: Chris S. on April 20, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

that cheap oil he gave to the american rabble last winter is, well-anti-american, somehow

Posted by: benjoya on April 20, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

and he was very disrespectful to the coup plotters, too. we certainly should do everything we can to support those defenders of democracy.

Posted by: benjoya on April 20, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

As a commenter on TPM put it, so-called "conservatism" has ceased to be an ideological political movement, and has become an entertainment demographic.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 20, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

It's early Monday, and you know what that means

Tomorrow's post: It's early Tuesday, and that means Rasmussen has a new poll showing Obama's approval ratings are down. In spite of Rahm Emanuel's claims that Obama has no intention of prosecuting Gonzales and his torture brigade, Rasmussen concludes that the reason for the polling trend is the hand shake with Chavez and the success of tea parties nationwide.

Posted by: Danp on April 20, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Of course President Obama shook hands vigorously and eagerly with President Chavez. The two share the same socialist philosophy in running the government. Though born in different countries with different languages and cultures, the two are political soulmates of the most leftist stripe.

I guess we should at least feel relieved that on top of rubbing palms so affectionately, at least Obama didn't bow to Chavez and grovel before all the other South American heads of state. This level of embarrassment with shaking the hands of tyrants is bad enough, thank you very much.

-A

Posted by: Atanarjuat on April 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"It's early Monday, and you know what that means: time for a new coordinated conservative tantrum.

Exactly. And undoubtedly, the "liberal" media plays along (e.g. Gingrich's nonsensical comments are front and center on the Atlanta-Journal Constitution's home page).

Posted by: CJ on April 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK
As a commenter on TPM put it, so-called "conservatism" has ceased to be an ideological political movement, and has become an entertainment demographic.

Something like "The Jerry Springer Show" from wingnut hell.

Posted by: Mr. Stuck on April 20, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's mind-boggling to me that Republicans have settled on the notion that diplomacy in any form is a sign of weakness.

That's how this country used to do things in the old days, isn't it? I seem to remember a Republican president shoring up support for a war by engaging in what they used to call 'shuttle diplomacy.'

Or did I just dream that or make it up in my head?

Posted by: Stranger on April 20, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Of course President Obama shook hands vigorously and eagerly with President Chavez.

Maybe like you do, when spanking that right wing Monkey.

Posted by: Mr. Stuck on April 20, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Atanarjuat @12:49: "This level of embarrassment with shaking the hands of tyrants is bad enough, thank you very much.

I'm embarrassed that some of my fellow Americans not only maintain such a high level of hate and stupidity, but they actually seem to wallow in it.

Posted by: Chris on April 20, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Since when does the GOP find it useful to promote the idea of American weakness?

How about since the Bush Administration began arguing that our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms had to be abandoned when facing the "terrorist threat?" Obviously, according to them and their fellow party members, our entire system of law, our courts, and our freedoms make us weak and so must be ceded to, well, to THEM because they and they alone are tough enough to keep us secure.


Posted by: Jack Lindahl on April 20, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Since when does the GOP find it useful to promote the idea of American weakness?

Since January 20, I believe.

Posted by: Brock on April 20, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

The Handshake is a great song by MGMT. Other than that, this whole thing is a drudge sponsored piece of stupid.

Posted by: Brandon on April 20, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

It's called "diplomacy". D-I-P-L-O... ahh, forget it.

Posted by: MattF on April 20, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

So where are the loyal dems that should be questioning the patriotism of his newtness? Joe Biden should be front and center explaining how the president decides foreign policy and all thos rethuglican traitors should just shut the fuck up!

Posted by: TulsaTime on April 20, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, the right-wing lace panty brigade has NO issues with pics of Bush holding hands and hugging the Saudi prince... that's manly, no?

I wish these wealthy old white, right-wing assholes would just go play some golf and let the rest of us get the country cleaned up after their stunningly ugly failures.

Posted by: Dejah Thoris on April 20, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Just as their man in the WH damaged our national stature by developing the policy of torture, so too have Republican leaders such as Gingrich tortured us with their insecurities, shrill complaining and twisted view of what it is to be an American! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 20, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, I can remember it wasn't that long ago - maybe six months, a year, two years, when it was the closest thing to treason if anyone criticized the President of the United States about foreign policy when he was out of the country engaging in foreign policy. I guess everything did change on Nov 4.

Posted by: bcinaz on April 20, 2009 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

The backwash remains of the GOP is only going to increase its irrelevance with this "Outrage of the Day" schtick. By the time they have a legitimate gripe, if ever, no one will take them seriously anymore. Oops, too late.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 20, 2009 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Fear is the primary weapon of the GOP.
To instill fear requires a threat.
A threat requires an enemy.
If you don't have a real enemy, then you must invent one.

Iran, Venezeula, Gays, Immigrants, Frenchies, Yurpeans.. (etc).

Ironically, like the American right-wing, the 'Al-Queda' movement is in a panic because Obama is diffusing the fear of the USA that they require to exist.

Posted by: Buford on April 20, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

And I remember sometime in 2008 when George W. Bush was attending summit in Europe and no one, none of those world leaders, none of them, not even our allies, none shook HIS hand. Perhaps they were all taking the advice of the Republicans: don't shake hands with a tyrant! Or maybe it's because GWB so weakened America's stature in the world that he could be snubbed without anyone actually giving a damn.

Posted by: jpeckjr on April 20, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I've seen two film clips. In one of them Obama is seated and Chavez comes from some distance away to greet him and shake his hand and then leaves. In the other they are standing with an interpreter and Obama is doing all of the talking. Chavez squeezes in about two words edgewise. Obama is a real suckup, all right, Chavez walked all over him.

Posted by: Bill H on April 20, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

This level of embarrassment with shaking the hands of tyrants is bad enough, thank you very much.

As opposed to literally holding hands with Saudi royalty like a girlfriend? As opposed to allying with military dictators like we did in Pakistan? As opposed to supporting murderous coups that overthrow or attempt to overthrow democratic governments like the U.S. has done throughout the world?
Oh wait, those all involved Republican presidents, so its okay with you and the shifting morality of your fellow wingnuts.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 20, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK
Since when does the GOP find it useful to promote the idea of American weakness?

Since January 20, I believe.


You are too kind. It's been since November 4, at least. Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on April 20, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Since when does the GOP find it useful to promote the idea of American weakness?"

They always have.

The US is always simultaneously dominating everything overwhelmingly and on the verge of collapse for multiple laughable reasons.

A short and very incomplete list of silly things conservatives are sure will be the imminent downfall of the US and western civilization:
Cuba
Gay Marriage
Protesters
Raising the top marginal income tax rate by X (for all values of X)
Nipples on TV
Marijuana
Lack of ignorance about sex
Universal healthcare

Posted by: JeffF on April 20, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

One Fox News personality said Obama and Chavez were "fist bumping and making lovey dovey." Another said the two presidents were "sittin in a tree...K I S S I...."

Fox News: The news channel for not-very-bright thirteen-year-olds.

Posted by: David Bailey on April 20, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Since when does the GOP find it useful to promote the idea of American weakness?

You're all too kind. Since Nixon at least. You could count, Goldwater, but he lost. Joe McCarthy's whole schtick was based on America being too weak to debate commies.

Posted by: martin on April 20, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Why can't interviews with these guys,be followed by film clips of GWB holding hands and "making lovey dovey" with that Saudi prince or whatever he was that visited GWB's "brush ranch" in Texas a couple of years ago? Was Bush kissing up to him for lower oil prices? Consoling him about the 19 Saudi's killed in the WTC attacks? Talking about Dubai investments?
Remember when the world leaders scheduled visits to the U S for policy discussions with the most admired country and its leaders whether Republican or Democrat? But, that was BB... ( "Before Bush" )

Posted by: Bob/SoCal on April 20, 2009 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Latest Manufactured Outrage

Yawn...
When does football season start?

Posted by: koreyel on April 20, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Newt and the rest of you right lunatic extremists, what say you about this:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_pq0L9aVV_KA/SXYVLm-INoI/AAAAAAAABEU/Y7gdEuDy8B4/s320/BushKissingSaudiPrince.jpg

Posted by: citizen_pain on April 20, 2009 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I concede that I might be), but is Chavez the democratically elected leader of a resource rich hemispheric neighbour?

Why exactly should the American President avoid talking with him? Will he catch Commie Cooties?

Posted by: neilt on April 20, 2009 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what they expected Obama to do when Chavez came from some distance away to shake Obama's hand. Would a Pres. Newt (God forbid)have turned and walked away with his fingers in his ears going nany, nany, nany I can't hear you. Real presidential move Newt.

Posted by: redrover on April 20, 2009 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Allan Snyder said:

As opposed to allying with military dictators like we did in Pakistan? As opposed to supporting murderous coups that overthrow or attempt to overthrow democratic governments like the U.S. has done throughout the world?

Contrary to the leftist view that the world could be filled with rainbow unicorns that poop magic gold if only we embrace socialism unquestioningly, the hard reality is that this world of ours is actually filled with nasty people who have to be dealt with accordingly, either by eliminating them outright or getting them to be "our bastard" against a more terrible foe.

Nothing positive can come of having the American president -- OUR president, shamefully enough -- smiling from ear to ear like a goofball while pumping the hand of a Latin American strongman like Chavez. It's not like we could employ him in the greater cause of defeating the Sandinistas (that's already been done), or to bear pressure on another tyrannical regime in South America. Chavez is the tyrannical regime.

And no, I don't advocate that Obama should have punched Chavez in his rude mouth, or that he slap away the extended hand. President Obama could simply have clasped his own hands behind his back and given a curt nod to Chavez, and that would have been that. Let the little tin pot dictator fume. Remember, liberals -- it was El Presidente Chavez that yanked the Venezuelan ambassador from the U.S. last year; he wasn't kicked out.

Anyway, lefties, keep joyously clapping like circus seals as Obama continues to weaken America's stature in the world. You guys are really good at this cheerleading thing, without a doubt.

-A

Posted by: Atanarjuat on April 20, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, isn't Ozzie Guillen, manager of Obama's beloved Chicago White Sox, a Venezuelan? There's the link between the Prez and Chavez.

Posted by: Vincent on April 20, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

These fools really need to re-read "The boy who cried 'wolf'". At this point Obama could take to shooting puppies and the resulting GOP outrage would just be ignored by everybody except the members of their lunatic base.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on April 20, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's prolonged kissing and holding hands with Saudi rulers, Rummy shaking Saddam's hand etc. - time to crank out the retaliatory YouTubes.

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on April 20, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

This is the kind of thing people who don't have anything else obsess over.

This is a perfect illustration that the GOP is empty. Bereft of ideas. Has nothing to bring to the table. etc...

Posted by: ET on April 20, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

People, the Atarnajaut thing is a parody troll from Balloon Juice. He/she/it doesn't try hard enough though.

Posted by: Ice Cream for Crow on April 20, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe somebody can help me, I'm trying to find some examples of right wing outrage over the numerous meetings between American Officials and Peruvian ex-Strong Man Alberto Fujimori. Remember that guy? The one who forcibly sterilized 200,000 indiginous Peruvians? The one who's economic "fujishock" looked like Milt Friedman's wet dream?

I wonder why I'm having trouble with this...I mean, I can find numerous examples of Fujimori going to conferences, and meeting with American officials, heck I can even find proof of his working closely with Bush the Elder on curtailing the drug war...but I simply cannot find anybody on the Right denouncing either these meetings or the man himself...

curious no?

Posted by: neilt on April 20, 2009 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

It is true that I frequent Balloon Juice, and it's just as true that I have obsessive blogstalkers like "Ice Cream for Crow" who congratulate themselves on their cleverness is somehow exposing me. Talk about pathetic desperation.

Try discussing the topic at hand, Ice Cream for Crow. That is, if you actually thought about it beyond your stalking today.

-A

Posted by: Atanarjuat on April 20, 2009 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

In all seriousness, a friendlier US actually weakens Chavez. His schtick is anti-American anti-imperialism. Weaken that, and Venezualans will only have his domestic policy to judge him on -- he won't score as many cheap points ranting about America.

Posted by: American Citizen on April 20, 2009 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Contrary to the leftist view that the world could be filled with rainbow unicorns that poop magic gold if only we embrace socialism unquestioningly..

Start off with a giant strawman and rapidly descend from there--yep, typical troll, parody or otherwise.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 20, 2009 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

neilt, that's odd, cause i'm sure these principled conservatives who deign to grace us with their intellectually rigorous philosophy stood up in the name of democracy. it's not like they're just tools of a wealthy oligarchy or cold warriors trapped in the last century or anything.

Posted by: benjoya on April 20, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Allan Snyder sneered:

Start off with a giant strawman and rapidly descend from there--yep, typical troll, parody or otherwise.

Oh, how very true! Especially this other trollish comment that Snyder curiously failed to respond to:

And no, I don't advocate that Obama should have punched Chavez in his rude mouth, or that he slap away the extended hand. President Obama could simply have clasped his own hands behind his back and given a curt nod to Chavez, and that would have been that. Let the little tin pot dictator fume. Remember, liberals -- it was El Presidente Chavez that yanked the Venezuelan ambassador from the U.S. last year; he wasn't kicked out.

Yup. That sure is a trollish, alright. A real parody!

Perhaps Snyder could simply admit that he's unable to refute what I wrote above and was looking for the easy dodge. But that would be the hallmark of honesty, which is sadly lacking among some here.

-A

Posted by: Atanarjuat on April 20, 2009 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Gingrich didn't SHAKE HANDS or KISS his first wife on a visit to the hospital while she was recovering from cancer surgery and he discussed divorce.

And he didn't SHAKE HANDS or KISS her when she had to take him to court for being a deadbeat dad.

And he didn't SHAKE HANDS or KISS the Congressional aid he committed adultery with during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. (Well, not a lot...)

But he probably SHOOK HANDS and KISSED his bride he married when he was 19 to avoid the draft (the one he later divorce when she had cancer because she was too old to the wife of a President and he was screwing a Congressional aid.)

So, it's obvious, he's the perfect spokesperson for questioning the moral imperatives of the President shaking hands with another head of state.

Posted by: Glen on April 20, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Repubs are jealous; that's all. When they "shake hands" with that -- single -- best friend they have, they have to do it in private, behind closed doors, because their church doesn't approve of that kind of self-gratification.

Posted by: exlibra on April 20, 2009 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Aatarnjuat, really, try harder.

Posted by: Ice Cream for Crow on April 20, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

glen, you're confusing Mrs. Gingrich #2 (the one he left the old one with cancer for) with Mrs. Gingrich #3 (the aide he was boinking while decrying bill clinton's affairs).

and we should be so lucky as to have him for a candidate ("we" meaning liberals). he's as intellectually coherent as he is morally upstanding.

Posted by: benjoya on April 20, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

the hard reality is that this world of ours is actually filled with nasty people who have to be dealt with accordingly. . . .

Yeah. We even elect a few of those in our own country. Go figure.

Posted by: bucky on April 20, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

benjoya, I apologize, it is difficult keeping track of Newt's multiple philandering and marriages.

Posted by: Glen on April 20, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, everyone ... Atanarjuat said "poop" in his post!

Cue up Beavis and Butthead laughter. Heh-heh, heh-heh, heh-heh, heh-heh-heh.

We all know that this was really just a sign of his sincerity and intellectual seriousness. Not that he is trolling or anything.

Now let's get down to the serious issues that Atanarjuat raises with his discussion of unicorn scatology. Is there any such thing as a magic unicorn, or is the whole idea of a "magic" unicorn a redundancy? Do metaphorical unicorns poop, or do they need to be real unicorns? And if these unicorn actually pooped, would it be gold or some substance akin to Eric Cantor?

Thanx for playing. Buh-bye.

Posted by: Bokonon on April 20, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

followed by film clips of GWB holding hands and "making lovey dovey" with that Saudi prince or whatever he was that visited GWB's "brush ranch" in Texas a couple of years ago? Was Bush kissing up to him for lower oil prices? Consoling him about the 19 Saudi's killed in the WTC attacks?

Posted by: Bob/SoCal on April 20, 2009 at 1:27 PM

That wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Posted by: electrolite on April 20, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

President Obama could simply have clasped his own hands behind his back and given a curt nod to Chavez, and that would have been that.

Oh, this is what you consider a substantive discussion? Okay, I suppose President Obama could have behaved like a petulant school child, and revealed a complete lack of confidence or strength by refusing to shake the hand of another elected president. But then, if the American people wanted a president who behaved like that, they would have elected another one like George Bush.

Let the little tin pot dictator fume.

Actually, as other people more mature and intelligent than yourself have noted, refusing to engage in the same immature and ridiculous behavior as your opponents reflects much worse on them than it does on you. Just ask John McCain, Sarah Palin, and what's left of the Republican Party.
p.s. Chavez is a twice-elected president, more than wannabe dictator(by his own admission)George W. Bush can say.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 20, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

"President Obama could simply have clasped his own hands behind his back and given a curt nod to Chavez, and that would have been that. Let the little tin pot dictator fume. Remember, liberals -- it was El Presidente Chavez that yanked the Venezuelan ambassador from the U.S. last year; he wasn't kicked out."

Theoretically, Atanarjuat would have us act like petulant children whenever we come across a political leader who we don't like (I question if this commenter would feel the same way if a Republican had simply shaken the man's hand). Thankfully, when it comes to foreign policy, most Americans are maturing--despite the Atanarjuat's among us.

Posted by: Chris on April 20, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Newt and the rest of you right lunatic extremists, what say you about this:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_pq0L9aVV_KA/SXYVLm-INoI/AAAAAAAABEU/Y7gdEuDy8B4/s320/BushKissingSaudiPrince.jpg
==========

Totally different. Bush frenching this guy is totally different. For one thing, how many terriss did old Hugo send over on 9/11? None, as in enn oh enn ee, as in not any. How can you respect that?

Posted by: Newt on April 20, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, "A", the world has some people nasty enough to be gotten rid of. I doubt Chavez is quite that bad, but we had at least a chance to smack down Osama and your presumptive hero GWB misdirected us into Iraq - now Al Qaeda and the Taliban are stronger than ever. And progressives don't believe in unquestioning acceptance of anything, there has been plenty of misgiving and criticism of Obama all over the levosphere (here; Greenwald, Juan Cole, Naomi Klein, Krugman and Stiglitz, etc.) Mindless loyalty is the Right's "job." BTW what do you think of libertarians? They are suspicious of government, but the authentic ones are even more opposed to US foreign entanglement than most Democrats.

Some people upblog comments noted the deep involvement of Republicans with corrupt Fujimori of Peru, maybe because he was such a shock-capitalist Galtard following (how ironic) the "Chicago School" of economic Screw-gism.

You're the silly people fuming these days. BTW the movie you are namesaking celebrates community spirit and is certainly a far cry from neo-rightist Randianism.

Posted by: Neil B ♣ on April 20, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

p.s. Chavez is a twice-elected president, more than wannabe dictator(by his own admission)George W. Bush can say.

Thanks, Mr. Snyder, that's 24K gold.

By the end of his second term, George Dubya was so toxic that no one wanted to shake his hand. At international conferences, he was treated like a contagious pariah. We have excellent documentary evidence for this.

Posted by: jasperjava on April 20, 2009 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Atanarjuat, nice piece of "holier than thou liberals are pussies blah blah blah" there.

I really do get a kick out of trolls like you that are so authoritative on the subject. You act as if the 8 year foreign policy nightmare we just lived through never happened.

Your champion of all things Herr Bu$h (and the Dick of course) got played like two bit side show hustlers by Osama, who achieved everything he set out to do.

And you have the audacity to look down your nose and spew out your pompous delusions of grandeur. George Will almost comes to mind.

At any rate, can you give me one factual example of when a republican has either won a war, or achieved an objective. And please don't bring up Ronny Raygun's supposed Victory over communism; he was in the right place at the right time, that's the extent of it.

Posted by: citizen_pain on April 20, 2009 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Shaking hands with Chavez "emboldens the enemy" is the one of the most inane, asinine, childish and immature statements to date from the republicans. They believe that any nation that rejects or opposes America's foreign policy objectives (corporate interests) is an enemy. The more I read about America's foreign policies and our meddling in other countries the more I realize that our leaders are influenced by big moneyed interests not humanitarian causes. In contrast the "eradication of global poverty and social exclusion are core issues for the Venezuelan government."

The demonization of Venezuela's president has more to do with the fact Chavez nationalized Venezuela's oil. The oil companies still make a profit -- albeit less than before notwithstanding. Now that money is used to educate, provide health care, alleviate hunger and lift many out of poverty. Chavez built new clinics, refurbished state hospitals and sent thousands of doctors to live in impoverished neighbourhoods (worldwide) to provide free healthcare and even provided free or low cost oil to over 400,000 American households. Yet scarce mention is made in the MSN about Chavez humanitarian accomplishments not only in Venezuela, but globally.

While Chavez may sound like a buffoon, the people of Venezuela love him. He is their hero because of his tireless attempts to alleviate the impoverished and his efforts to educate the poor.

Chavez has been democratically elected President for 8 consecutive terms. Yet he is portrayed as a dictator, a threat to democracy and America's enemy by the traditional media and the politicians in Washington simply because the oil companies make less profit.

Investing in people is the lifeblood of democracy. If lifting people out of poverty, expanding opportunities and promoting policies that further economic growth and social development makes Chavez an enemy what does that say about America's priorities?


Posted by: serena1313 on April 20, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

citizen_pain said:

At any rate, can you give me one factual example of when a republican has either won a war, or achieved an objective. And please don't bring up Ronny Raygun's supposed Victory over communism

Right, because if we remove that particular American triumph off the board for the sake of "leveling the playing field," then liberals can continue to pretend that former President Ronald Reagan wasn't the principal driving force in tearing down the Iron Curtain.

I swear, you liberals do love those rainbow unicorns, don't you? Unfortunately, reality is a different matter and no amount of revisionism can change the undeniable facts of Reagan's historical presidency.

ObTopic: Reflecting on the handshake further, I really don't care if Obama wants to act the fool and frenetically pump the hands of our worst enemies -- I just wish he'd do it out of sight of cameras or witnesses. The embarrassment of the Obama presidency just keeps piling up day by day. Ugh.

-A

Posted by: Atanarjuat on April 20, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Atanarjuat ... please. Enough with the scatology already! This is a family forum! You are overwhelming us!

Surely, you must be afflicted with Obama Derangement Syndrome. I'll pray for you.

Posted by: Bokonon on April 20, 2009 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

..."they shook hands, but did not appear close" - what in hell does that supposed to mean?

Posted by: jim WEAVER on April 20, 2009 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

>pretend that former President Ronald Reagan wasn't the principal driving force in tearing down the Iron Curtain.

Even if that were true - a big if - let's look at how he did it: By upping the stakes of a hair-trigger nuclear arms race until the USSR's economy collapsed under the strain.

Translation: By threatening to end western civilization in a holocaust of several hundred million deaths via untreated burns, follow-on famine, disease, and climate disruption, and the loss of all our cities. A disaster we would not have recovered from for hundreds of years.

This is terrorism. Ronnie "ended the cold war" by carrying out the greatest act of terrorism the world has ever known.

Even if you accept it caused the end of the cold war, it was an unnacceptable and unnecessary risk. The USSR wasn't a viable long-term concern anyways.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on April 20, 2009 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

"The U.S. president was photographed shaking hands with the twice-elected head of state of a large South American democracy..."

How's the Kool-Aid, Steve?

Posted by: RH Potfry on April 20, 2009 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obama shouldn't be meeting with any of the enemies of our country in the first place. If he didn't meet with them, he wouldn't have to greet them in any method (handshake, bow, whatever). Wake up Americans. Our country is becoming not only bankrupt financially, but bankrupt morally. We don't owe Cuba, Iran, North Korea anything. Obama is trying his best to bring down this country.

Posted by: Sharon on April 20, 2009 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Sharon ... I think you need to wake up a bit yourselves. We DID in fact have a recent president that bankrupted the United States financially AND morally.

Hint: that person wasn't Obama.

In fact, Obama is simply behaving like presidents USED to behave for well over 200 years before W. came along and forged his own way ... of alienating friends and empowering enemies everywhere.

Wake up, Sharon. Wake up, wingers everywhere.

[By the way, Sharon - what is it with that "wake up Americans" line that you use? Either you are posting on multiple forums with the same line, or there are a bunch of you that are out there blogging with exactly the same language, punctuation, rhetorical escalations, and so on. It is almost like you received training to do this ... or are reading off a sheet provided to you.]

Posted by: Bokonon on April 20, 2009 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Atanarjuat.....

Regan didn't have a thing to do with the fall of the USSR. The USSR died a natural death due to the fact that there is no such thing as a "Free Lunch". No Atanarjuat it wasn't Ronny it was ECONOMICS that caused the collapse. And it is ECONOMICS that are now weakening the U.S.A.

Buford......
You have it right - The GOP manipulates by instilling fear....
They tell us what to be afraid of if we vote for the other side. What they don't tell us is how they will keep us safe.

Atanarjuat.... My family influenced me greatly both parties. I am an INDEPENDENT I take in what everyone says and does then I make up my own mind
maybe you should try it or are you too lazy to actually think.

Posted by: Indythink on April 21, 2009 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

"Of course President Obama shook hands vigorously and eagerly with President Chavez. The two share the same socialist philosophy in running the government. Though born in different countries with different languages and cultures, the two are political soulmates of the most leftist stripe.

I guess we should at least feel relieved that on top of rubbing palms so affectionately, at least Obama didn't bow to Chavez and grovel before all the other South American heads of state. This level of embarrassment with shaking the hands of tyrants is bad enough, thank you very much."

-A

1. socialist philosophy: Please, define it! I'm so tired of the word. It's the new racist slur. Instead of the "N" word, hide behind the "S" word. Obviously, it wasn't reckless to spend tons of money to spread the republican's idea of democracy through-out the Middle-East. The Crusades did not work. It's not the West.
2. Obama didn't bow to Chavez: Perhaps he should have held his hand, played with swords, and danced an African dance. Perhaps he should ask Bush how to act during submits. Maybe it's more politically correct if he bows to the European Queen and not the Arab King.
3.grovel before all the other South American heads of state: Perhaps he should stay in America and declare WMD's are only located in middle-eastern countries at a State of the Union. Perhaps he should say our country would never torture.
4. This level of embarrassment with shaking the hands of tyrants is bad enough, thank you very much: Maybe he should stare in tyrants eyes and see his soul as Bush did with the Russian president.

And please, for heaven's sake, stop creating a fake idea of America or Americans. What Bible, Constitution, Bill of Rights, rule-of-law, or historic book spells out how our President should shake hands, smile, respond to questions, talk, dress, eat, think, or pick his/her nails? He is not White. He is not going to respond to things how Newt's plantation granddaddy would respond. And his wife is not going to respond how the southern Belle would. President Obama and First Lady Michelle will respond as they should: do the job. Treat anyone as you would want to be treated.

Posted by: whatever on April 21, 2009 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly