Political Hay

Chavez Held Up Mirror to Liberals

To them he's a joke -- not an international outlaw like the current U.S. president.

By 10.2.06

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As offensive as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's recent anti-Bush tirade at the United Nations was, his calling President Bush "the devil" was a lot less offensive than modern American liberals who attack our President on a daily basis.

When I watched Jon Stewart joke about Chavez's outburst on The Daily Show, I found myself relieved: for once, a comedian was ridiculing the truly ridiculous -- Chavez -- instead of taking endless cheap shots at Bush.

Of course, Bush got some ribbing from Stewart, too, but at least Stewart did something other than endlessly pile on stale jokes about our President's inarticulateness without remotely considering (to paraphrase Alexis de Tocqueville, a true -- i.e. classical--liberal), that being laconic is a minor limitation compared to those of people who speak well and reason poorly.

Meanwhile, President Bush found himself with one of the unlikeliest of all defenders: Charlie Rangel. "An attack on Bush is an attack on all Americans," the New York congressman said in a news conference. "You do not come into my country, my congressional district, and you do not condemn my president. If there is any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans, whether they voted for him or not."

While it was nice to see Rangel stick up for the President, his comments sounded a bit like the older brother who says, "Nobody can beat up my younger brother but me."

Rangel may think it more appropriate for Americans to attack their own President than for a foreign leader to do so, but in reality, the reverse is true. Who is more despicable, a foreign leader who slings vitriol at our President while enjoying our city's comforts (and something tells me this socialist demagogue didn't stay budget while in New York), or U.S. citizens who utterly demonize our President while saying nary a word about the terrorists who, in the most inhuman way imaginable, deliberately murdered thousands of American civilians on September 11?

At a political comedy/discussion show I attended in downtown Manhattan the other night, one "liberal" panelist, asked to comment on Chavez's remarks, said that while they may have been over-the-top, she didn't take them all that seriously and found the entire episode "funny."

Her comment sidestepped the issue, because while Chavez's behavior was indeed absurd and perhaps unintentionally funny, his words were not intended as a joke -- any more than are the words of certain left-wingers in our own country who routinely refer to our President as a "fascist," an "idiot," and a "terrorist" at a time when U.S. citizens face unthinkable brutality at the hands of genuine terrorists (whether those who fly planes into buildings in our cities or those who bomb U.S. soldiers in Iraq).

It is one thing to criticize the President's policies, but it is another thing to vilify him the way modern liberals do. Left wing vitriol is not limited to bomb throwers such as Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore. Whether it's Jimmy Carter saying that President Bush had brought "international disgrace" to America or Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid calling Bush a "loser" and a "liar," berating our President has become the favorite pastime of Democrats.

One of the motives behind this name-calling is the hope that if we demonize our own President, the real terrorists will leave us alone. Or if our foreign policy refuses to confront evil, real terrorists won't attack us. But in reality, no contortion of logic can dismiss that September 11 occurred before the Iraq war, and George Bush did not create terrorism, nor will pretending we see him as the moral equivalent of terrorists protect us.

Left-wingers constantly repeat that the U.S. "squandered the goodwill" of the world after 9/11, but much of what they regarded as goodwill was, in fact, pity for us because we were victims that day. If being victims is the price of this so-called "goodwill," who needs it?

Sadly, Chavez didn't say anything worse than things I've heard numerous left-wing American citizens say -- and seen them proclaim on ubiquitous bumper stickers and T-shirts. Not one such left-winger I've come across has acknowledged this, however.

The truth is that their insipid dismissal of Chavez's comments belies their discomfort in having a mirror held up to their own ignorance. It seems never to cross their minds that perhaps foreign leaders and malcontented individuals feel encouraged to attack America because they see so many Americans attacking our country from within. (I say malcontented individuals because it is they who are anti-American. Everyone else in the world is trying to immigrate here -- something else the left-wing doesn't seem to notice.)

Of course, those who reach the conclusion that our President is a "terrorist" and a "fascist" have every right to voice their opinions, because this is America.

I wonder, though, whom they'd feel safer calling a terrorist to his face -- George Bush or Osama bin Laden?

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About the Author

Heather Robinson is a New York-based journalist who has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the New York Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She maintains the website heatherrobinson.net.