All that the media focused on at the memorial for Nelson Mandela was President Obama’s handshake with Raul Castro. The handshake was big news
. But if Obama had chosen to snub Castro, it would have not only been huge news, it would have been huge bad news. And this was a memorial for Nelson Mandela, hello!! Is there a person in the world who is more of a symbol of reaching out and reconciliation? If Obama would have refused to shake hands with Castro, it would have been a snub to Castro... and a slap in the face to the memory of Nelson Mandela.
From the reaction of the rightwing, you would have thought that Obama slipped Castro our nuclear codes during the handshake. Marco Rubio said
that Obama should have taken the opportunity to lecture Castro on human rights issues. Uh, Marco, there was no “opportunity.” Obama was on his way to the podium to deliver his speech!
John McCain reacted to Obama’s handshake with a reference to Hitler
. Hey, McCain is the guy who wants to bomb everybody. His stock-in-trade is overreaction. McCain noted that “Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler.” I think he was trying to avoid World War II, John. Tens of millions of people ended up dying. I think it was worth trying to avoid that with a handshake.
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinin (R-FL)
said “when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raúl Castro it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant.” It certainly becomes a propaganda coup for people determined to keep out foreign policy mired in the Cold War.
Ted Cruz reportedly walked out
of the Mandela memorial service when Castro spoke. So if you’re wondering why Ted Cruz was at the Mandela memorial in the first place, he was there to make a cheap political point. Ted Cruz travelled around the globe to pull a tawdry political stunt at the memorial service of a world icon. Ted, wouldn’t it have been easier just to wait until Mandela was laid to rest, and then pee on his grave?
Congressional leaders have reached a deal on a budget agreement
. You know what that means—it’s awful, but not nearly bad enough for conservatives. Paul Ryan called this deal a way to “get our government functioning.” Yes, but not doing what we need it to do.
The Randi Rhodes Show weekdays 6 PM to 8 PM on WWRL 1600.
Jon Stewart sums up the handshake obsession fairly well: “What the f**k is wrong with us?!”