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Ear to the Ground

On Handshakes Past and Present

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Posted on Apr 20, 2009
handshake
thinkprogress.org

Whose hands are these? If you can’t tell by the fashions displayed by the background crowd, go to Think Progress’ handshake photos to find out.

Certain right-wingers are really upset (!) at President Obama for shaking Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s hand at the Summit of the Americas last weekend, because shaking hands with enemies indicates weakness and is just not done, you see ... with a few notable exceptions.

And Chavez himself reportedly told Obama that he pressed the flesh with Bush Jr. “with this same hand” eight years before, according to various accounts of the Chavez-Obama encounter in Trinidad.

Think Progress:

As the Cold War waned, President Reagan (whose foreign policy Gingrich repeatedly praises) met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at four summits, leading to nuclear arms reductions. President George H. W. Bush negotiated the Start II treaty alongside Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and President Clinton discussed foreign investment with Yeltsin. President Bush, of course, said he saw into Vladimir Putin’s soul after a private engagement.

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By Michael, April 21, 2009 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why does the new media continue to quote Cheney?  He wasn’t so willing to talk when he was VP?  Bush and friends were all about posturing and not about accomplishing anything.  Why keep giving them a microphone for their posturing.

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By purplewolf, April 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

And the right-wingers are upset because: we finally have someone representing America that has manners and etiquette rather than the ones we had, who responded as Dick Cheney did so often, ” F-ck you or gave other people/nations the one finger salute, as did G.W. to Americans while holding the American flag on Flag Day while they represented America.

I don’t know or care to know what these so called right wingers think or where come from, but I rather have someone who represents this country with some common sense instead of the hostility brought to us for the last 8 years from the former administration. Someone willing to talk to our perceived enemies instead of creating more, like in the past.

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By JohnRJ08, April 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Wasn’t it Don Corleone who said, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? There is no downside to Obama being amicable to someone like Chavez. It doesn’t ‘validate’ Chavez’s presidency, his methods or his statements. All it does is make Obama look like a decent person who is willing to listen, even to adversaries.  He doesn’t have to put on a game-face just to make sure Chavez and the world knows he’s our enemy. The political downsides to Obama’s friendly gesture are created by ideologues who think you have to play hardball all the time in order to maintain a high level of antagonism with unfriendly leaders. Look where that sort of posturing has gotten the United States over the last 10 years.

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By ib42, April 21, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

bush/cheney and their cohorts had their chance to make America a splendid example of democracy, and destroyed our image, self respect and murdered thousands of people, including young Americans who were sent off to fight in a completely unnecessary ‘war’. This just to satisfy the bloodlust and greed of the crude, overgrown bullies at the top of our leadership.
Now, Mr. Obama has taken on the humungous task of restoring our place in the world as a true democracy.
A difficult job, but one he is admirably suited to perform.
Let him be, and let’s show the world we are one, in spite of the hateful republicans.

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By yours truly, April 21, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hugo Chavez Is Not Our Enemy

“What is?”

“The same old same old business as usual status quo.”

“Why?”

“Perpetual war + global warming + economic collapse = doomsday.”

“The answer being?”

“Change we can believe in.”

“Based on?”

“Yes we can.”

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