“I thought Pres. Obama did an excellent job of expressing the values and priorities of the United States of America. He allowed a dialogue to take place and a good spirit to animate the room, which I thought made the meetings productive. I think made the United States– took the United States to a higher plain than the Venezuelans of the world.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
At least Canada’s Stephen Harper understands. But then he was there so he knew what went down. Call him a sane conservative, if you will.
Then there is the gored ox theory, representing the right-wing, most of whom came off of their collective hinge at the sight of President Barack Obama having a cordial conversation with the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.
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.
“Frankly, this does look a lot like Jimmy Carter. Carter tried weakness, and the world got tougher and tougher, because the predators, the aggressors, the anti-Americans, the dictators – when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead,” Gingrich said on “Fox & Friends.” …
Congress’ veterinarian, John Ensign, called Obama’s interaction “irresponsible,” with his perfectly coiffed hair practically standing on end at the thought of our President “laughing and joking” with Chavez. Mr. Ensign also having forgotten that the 50-year embargo never succeeded in dethroning Castro.
But it was on Joe Scarborough’s show today where they pushed the old line that all diplomacy has to be a stiff arm to people we can actually squash with little effort. He got a lot of help from Patrick J. Buchanan who called Obama a “kid on the school yard that can be pushed around because he’s too sweet.”
The Gingrich-Scarborough line, which is basically a you’ve got to be careful strategy, because those tyrants will think you’re weak if you shake their hand, completely ignores that we aren’t in the age of Yalta or Kennedy-Khrushchev. We’re in the post Bush-Cheney era, mending fences with the entire world. Unfortunately, Republicans don’t seem willing to walk into the 21st century and get a grip that post Bush-Cheney, Pres. Obama has got to signal the Bush-Cheney chapter has, at last, finally closed.
Evidently, Newt, Joe and Pat also wanted Obama to address Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s outrageous harangue that included the charge the U.S. embargo of Cuba was “a real genocide.”
Seriously, the leader of the free world, the American President, is supposed to respond to Mr. Ortega’s rant? Or worse, acknowledge these outlandish statements? No one’s even talking about them but Newt, Joe and Pat.
When will the right understand that the U.S. is the most powerful nation on planet earth, which actually means we don’t have to rise to every piece of lunatic bait that’s thrown at us?
Did Newt, Joe and Pat not notice that it was Bush who gave Chavez the platform from which he berated the United States continually, to cheers from around the world? And that helped us how?
Besides, take a look at the tape of Chavez handing Obama the book, and you will see plainly that Venezuela’s president was rushing up to Obama like a giddy little boy, handing him a book so he had a reason to squeeze himself into the limelight; getting his picture taken with the man everyone wants to meet, Barack Obama, which was not lost on our President:
Mr Obama pointed out that he held conversations with other critics of Washington, including Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and Bolivia’s Evo Morales.
“I think it’s just that President Chavez is better at positioning the cameras,” the US leader said.