Monday, April 20, 2009

Fake Republican Outrage Is Getting Kind Of Predictable... And Ignorable-- But Obama Is Still Likely To Shake Hands With Hacks Like John Ensign


Despite relentless right-wing propaganda, Venezuela is not our enemy

Republican Party hacks are all up in arms and puffed up with their fake sense of outrage over Obama shaking hands with Hugo Chavez. Obama doesn't laugh at his hopeless opponents; he's polite. Yesterday he politely told GOP sore losers and troublemakers to shove it. I think any Americans who don't get their world view from Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Coulter don't need to be told that extending diplomatic courtesy is a plus, not-- as in the dark old Bush days-- a sign of weakness. At a news conference at the end of the three-day summit Obama patiently explained to Republican dunces that "the U.S. must engage other countries through humanitarian gestures, not simply military intervention."
Obama said it would be a mistake to measure the Summit of the Americas by specific agreements reached. But by listening to his counterparts and eschewing heavy-handed diplomacy, he said, he was creating an atmosphere in which, "at the margins," foreign leaders are "more likely to want to cooperate than not cooperate."

A running theme of the summit was Obama's cordial dealings with Chavez, who once called former President George W. Bush the "devil" and who just last month dismissed Obama as an "ignoramus." The two were photographed smiling and clasping hands.

At one meeting attended by South American leaders, Chavez made a show of walking around the table as the cameras rolled and handing Obama a copy of "Open Veins of Latin America," a 1971 book by Eduardo Galeano chronicling U.S. and European imperialism in the region.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) told CNN today that it was "irresponsible" for Obama to be seen "laughing and joking" with the Venezuelan president.

Obama dismissed such concerns. He said the 2008 presidential campaign proved that American voters want the president to engage his counterparts, whether or not they are avowed friends of the U.S.

Obama said it "was a nice gesture to give me a book. I'm a reader." He added that the election was a referendum of sorts on the argument that U.S. solicitude toward foreign leaders could be seen as "weakness."

"The American people didn't buy it," the president said. "And there's a good reason the American people didn't buy it, because it doesn't make sense."

The U.S. has nothing to fear from Venezuela, a large supplier of crude oil to the U.S., Obama said.

"Its defense budget is probably 1/600th of the U.S.," he said. "They own [the oil company] Citgo. 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."

This morning when I woke up I heard a sterile talking head on CNN describe Hugo Chavez or Venezuela as "America's arch-nemesis." A much more accurate thing to say is that House obstructionist leader John Boehner or North Carolina racist Richard Burr or secessionist Rick Perry is America's arch-nemesis. Or how about Kenneth Lewis or the other corrupt banksters who have systematically looted the country and dragged us into a Depression? A rightist created myth has imbeciles who couldn't identify Venezuela on a map if their lives depended on it repeating a Limbaughist demonization formula about a country with which we have no legitimate gripes. That Chavez spoke out forcefully against George Bush-- who tried to topple his government and nearly succeeded in having him assassinated-- is something Americans should be appreciative of. Unfortunately, I doubt that's why Obama shook hands with him. Instead he's busy putting the U.S. back on an even foreign policy keel after 8 years of the worst and most dangerous foreign policy in the history of the country.

It's likely that the U.S. and Venezuela will resume full diplomatic relations which had badly soured under the Bush Regime. And although Obama has made it clear he's not going to go as fast as most people think he should towards fully normalizing relations with Cuba, the days when obscenely wealthy right-wing Cuban gangsters, their sons, and their corrupt bought-off shills in Congress could dictate U.S. policy is coming to an end.

And much to the dismay of many progressives it's likely that Obama will shake hands not just with Hugo Chavez but with real enemies of our country's basic values-- rightist kooks and corporate patsies like Ensign, McConnell, Kyl, Cornyn, even dangerous loons who I hope get frisked first like Coburn, Burr and Bachmann. While White House advisors were admonishing the obstructionists to come up with constructive proposals to the problems Bush left behind-- and constructive doesn't mean slogans like "4 more years" from partisan nitwits like Paul Ryan (R-WI), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Eric Cantor (R-VA)-- all we heard from them were nonsensical talking points and GOP Minority Leader John Boehner's bovine fart jokes. This is a no-brainer for Obama because, afterall, polling shows that Americans have a more favorable attitude towards Venezuela than towards the Republican Party. (42% of Americans look on Venzuela favorable but only 39% see the GOP in that light.) And now that Cheney came out of his crypt and went on Fox to smear the President over "the handshake," I expect the Republican approval rating to fall some more.

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At 2:15 PM, Blogger Jonw said...

Obama can't seem to get anything right on his domestic agenda so he turns to foreign relations to try to bolster his public image. He's failing in both arenas.

So far domestically he has cut defense given away secrets and tripled the national debt, failing on that front. Overseas, he has blown his promises on ending the war on a timeline setting up for 16 months to withdrawl and more recently stating a desire to expand the war. Then while fighting in the Middle East, he turns to South and Central America, where he has embraced those who have made no secret of their disdain for our country and its people, and he has yet to secure the southern border. Obama is a contiuning string of failures.

At 10:28 PM, Blogger Ray Errol Fox / Son of the Cucumber King said...

Re: Fake Republican Outrage Is Getting Kind Of Predictable... And Ignorable--

I ask all my Republican friends how they can still hold their heads up. To their credit, more and more of them are openly expressing their disdain for their party--in many cases, their FORMER party, and no one, not in Manhattan, at least, is trying to spin untruths from ugly facts. They understand, but don't necessarily endorse, why I've taken the GOP to task harshly in at least three blog entries. See for yourself, starting with "April's Fools" (but I hope you'll scroll a little further) at

Congratulations on some fine writing--and reasoning.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger The Camera Fanatic said...

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At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing getting old here are the same shop worn predictable comments from the same old predictable democrats, you all should try doing something good and decent for a change, get some morals! I'm amazed how many Democrat friends are telling me they are sorry for voting this nitwit into office, that he's not what they expected.

Bob W.

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