Apparently some readers thought I was unfair last week for poking fun at Rudy Giuliani. You’ll recall that Rudy had asserted that President Obama “doesn’t love America because he wasn’t raised like you or me.” Frankly, his remarks were not only outrageous but bordered on racist. At a minimum, they showed shocking disrespect for President Obama and the office of the presidency. In the spirit of peace, however, I have an idea for a career change for Rudy.
Over the years Giuliani has frequently appeared at public events as a drag queen. He does so for humorous effect, like on Saturday Night Live, and is remarkably good at it. He’s no RuPaul, but he’s infinitely better than Milton Berle ever was.
Well, apparently Dame Edna (Australian comedian Barry Humphries), famous for her blue hair and cat eye glasses, is retiring from the drag queen comedy biz this year. The timing for Rudy to jump into the void couldn’t be better.
But Rudy was last week. This week, on Tuesday, in a speech to Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu blasted President Obama about his negotiations with Iran over their nuclear capability. To me, this was another in a long list of examples of disrespect to the president that is unique in modern political history. With Obama, it began even before he took office.
Talk about a sore loser — the day after the 2008 election, Mitch McConnell told reporters that the GOP would do everything in its power to make Obama a one-term president and wouldn’t cooperate with any of his agenda. The height of the hypocrisy is that, six years later, they complain that Obama got nothing done. Shameless.
But back to Bibi, who possesses great charm. His speech to Congress was masterful. (Though his comb-over hairdo seems to defy physics.) Bibi opened with a few jokes, which actually reminded me of comedian Shecky Greene, now 88. Even the names Bibi and Shecky have a showbiz ring.
In fact, I’d have loved it if House Speaker John Boehner had introduced the Prime Minister, “Ladies and gentlemen, all the way from Tel Aviv, put your hands together for Bibi Netanyahu!” As it was, Bibi received 50 standing ovations. I’d like to share Jon Stewart’s take on that, but this is a family paper.
After the joke-fest opening, and in scaring the you-know-what out of us, Bibi seemed to channel his inner Dick Cheney. (Imagine having an inner Dick Cheney. Yuck.) Apparently, if Obama doesn’t do what Bibi suggests, we face a future filled with apocalyptic realities that Bush, Cheney and Condi Rice forecast with such enthusiasm in the buildup to the Iraq War.
Of course, those forecasts had zero basis in reality and I’m convinced the neocon chicken-hawks knew it. While it’s certainly possible Bibi might be right, I’m still bothered by the timing of his appearance and the manner in which he was invited. But first, let me share a stunning irony.
Bibi was a huge advocate for the Iraq War. And yet, curiously, the ill-fated and probably illegal invasion was the very thing that made Iran the dominant power in the region. The brilliant minds that conceived the invasion and toppling Saddam blithely ignored how it would unquestionably empower Iran. What Bibi warned us about Tuesday in Iran in such frightening terms, in a sense, he helped create. Go figure.
And I got a real kick out of Bibi claiming that his speech was not intended to be political. (I could swear his nose started to grow.) Bibi is up for re-election in two weeks and his speech before Congress was shown in prime time is Israel. As the Church Lady used to say, “Isn’t that convenient?”
Boehner invited Bibi to address Congress at the very time the Obama administration is in negotiations with Iran. Frankly, Boehner is one strange dude. This includes his various crying jags and also having a complexion a shade of orange not normally associated with humans.
In fact, at Obama’s recent State of the Union, Boehner appeared to be more “a person of color” than Obama. Even stranger, perhaps, at a recent press conference, Boehner made kisses at a reporter who asked him a difficult question. You’ve gotta see it. Creepy!
Whereas Bibi is nobody’s fool, apparently Boehner’s is everybody’s. He was so consumed with kissing Bibi’s substantial derriere, he once again lost a crucial vote in the House. (Funding Homeland Security.) Poor, sorrowful John Boehner. No wonder he cries so often.
In two weeks, Israel will have its big election. Then we’ll find out if “To Bibi or not to Bibi?” is both the question and the answer. If he loses, I hope Bibi lets his hair down, although it looks pretty well stuck in place.
Jack Neworth is at facebook.com/jackneworth and twitter.com/jackneworth and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.