It goes without saying that Newt Gingrich is a complete and total idiot. Of course our Presidents frolicked around with Russian and Soviet leaders. Almost as funny today was when the worst spokesperson/analyst/whateveritisthesepeoplearepaidfor ever, Brad Blakeman, tried to trot out that nonsense over at the Politico story DougJ linked to earlier:
The answer is a simple one. The President of the United States should never shake the hand of a brutal dictator from a country we do not have formal diplomatic relations with.
When the moderator pointed out that Nixon shook Mao’s hand, Blakeman’s response was essentially “that was different.” Blakeman then stuck around to get schooled by another member of the “arena.” Good times.
Later on, apparently butthurt, Blakeman thought he had another in:
For all the Arena gladhanders: Was it rude for the US to walk out on the Iranian President’s UN Speech today? What’s the harm in listening?
Of course, poor Brad apparently didn’t read the NY Times piece he linked, or he would have known that the US didn’t walk out on the Iranian President’s speech today, because the US was not attending:
A stream of delegates from France and other European nations walked out of a United Nations conference here on Monday in protest during a speech by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who criticized the formation of a “racist government” in the Middle East in a clear reference to Israel.***
The conference, the first United Nations conference in eight years to address the issue of racism, was already being boycotted by Israel, the United States and several important allies.
That would seem to suggest to me that President Obama does in fact seem to recognize the difference between statecraft and merely being polite. But then again, I’m not a blithering idiot like Newt Gingrich or Brad Blakeman.