Saturday, September 23, 2006


Aside from giving big props to Noam Chomsky (even if he did seem to be under the impression that the Great Man was no longer with us), the fallout from Hugo Chavez's speech at the U.N. the other day continues.

Right-wing gasbags--and unfortunately, quite a few wishy-washy kinda-sorta liberals--are bent out of shape because Chavez called Our Benevolent Leader a devil. "It's one thing to disagree with Mr. Bush's policies," they whine, "but this was a juvenile personal attack."

No, a personal attack would be Bush personally supporting a right-wing coup to overthrow Chavez, who was, after all, democratically elected by the people of Venezuela. That's the kind of thing that can make a guy a little bit testy.

"But," complain Chavez's critics, "Mr. Bush represents America. By calling him the devil, he is attacking every one of us."

Well, no--by calling Bush the devil, he's simply attacking Bush. (And again, with good reason.) But look, if you really want to play the Moral Equivalancy Game, fine. If it's wrong for Chavez to call Bush a devil, then how is it okay for Bush to demonize Saddam Hussein? And if attacking Bush is somehow attacking all of us, what to make of it when Bush called Iraq, Iran and North Korea the Axis of Evil? Was he claiming that every single person in these nations is beyond redemption?

Or was he just deploying some cheap rhetoric, something to win easy applause from people who already agree with him? Which is basically what Chavez was doing, but since he's on the other side, it's wrong when he does it.

Which pretty much sums up the Bushinista's concept of democracy: You're free to believe what we tell you to believe.