After Republicans like John McCain embarrassed themselves with outrage over the Castro handshake, the White House put out a statement that made them look like even bigger fools.
Video of the Obama/Castro handshake:
Audio of McCain:
Sen. McCain was asked what he thought of the Obama/Raul Castro handshake at the Mandela memorial. He answered, “It gives Raul some propaganda to continue to prop up his dictatorial, brutal regime, that’s all,” He was asked if Obama should have shaken hands with Castro. He said, “Of course not.” “Why should you shake hands with somebody who’s keeping Americans in prison? I mean, what’s the point?” After a pause, McCain let his bitter jealousy out, “Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler.”
GOP Rep. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) yelled at Secretary of State Kerry over the handshake, “Mr. Secretary sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant. Raul Castro uses that hand to sign the orders to repress and jail democracy advocates.”
Sen. Marco Rubio said, “If the President was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba.”
The White House had a simple explanation for the handshake that has whipped the right into a frenzy, “Nothing was planned in terms of the president’s role other than his remarks,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling with Obama. “He really didn’t do more than exchange greetings with those leaders on his way to speak, it wasn’t a substantive discussion.”
Republicans are outraged because President Obama was too polite to Raul Castro at a memorial service. I guess the appropriate response in the Republican mind would have been to ignore the lessons of Mandela, and treat Cuba like a lifetime enemy.
It is silly that the White House had to put out a statement about this, but the media and Republicans ran with it. Republicans went ballistic, because to them this handshake was proof of Obama’s communism. (McCain’s motive was different. He is still bitter over 2008, so he goes out of his way to criticize the president’s foreign policy leadership.) Republicans are petty children who will use anything in their endless attempts to delegitimize this president’s leadership.
Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but the Republican barbarians don’t understand manners, so be prepared for lots of talk of this being proof of Obama’s commie ways.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association