Saturday, February 04, 2006

"Chavez Hysteria" Watch....

The latest installment. From the AP:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld likened Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Adolf Hitler, reflecting continuing tension in relations between the United States and the Latin American government.

Rumsfeld, asked during a National Press Club appearance Thursday about indications of a deteriorating general relationship between Washington and parts of Latin America, said he believes such a characterization “misses the mark.”

“We saw dictatorships there. And then we saw most of those countries, with the exception of Cuba, for the most part move towards democracies,” he said. “We also saw corruption in that part of the world. And corruption is something that is corrosive of democracy.”

The secretary acknowledged that “we’ve seen some populist leadership appealing to masses of people in those countries. And elections like Evo Morales in Bolivia take place that clearly are worrisome.”

“I mean, we’ve got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money,” Rumsfeld added. “He’s a person who was elected legally — just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally — and then consolidated power and now is, of course, working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others.”
Do we really need to spend time rebutting the inaccurate statement that Hitler was "elected legally"? That Rumsfeld would say it indicates he's either reckless or ignorant of German history; his ancestry is strongly German, so I doubt the latter. Why is this person still the Secretary of Defense?

Reality check: Hugo Chavez is a twice democratically-elected leader who has survived a referendum and a coup attempt that was at least tacitly supported by the United States. He is no less legitimate a president than George Bush, and far more so than many allies of ours including Mubarak and Musharraf. His approval rating is 70%---which must really eat at a White House stuck at 40%---and he's responsive, proactive and competent in a crisis. Read about that here, and here.

As the economy stalls, the stock market drifts and a nation in debt up to its eyeballs hits the downside of exhausted monetary and fiscal policy, expect much more of this sort of rhetoric. See, it's not really Chavez's oil. Oh sure, technically Venezuelans live on the land above the oil---much like Iran also "owns" its oil---but that oil represents our ability to print our way through deficits and preemptive wars. Of course that's a road that must be paved first, so the public needs to be prepared---gradually, via Hitler analogies and other assorted Saddam-redux demonizations---for the inevitable.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post at Digby about Bush's call for America to end it addiction to oil is apropos here as a cooment to CR's post:

And What Do Addicts Do When They Don't Get Their Fix?

by tristero

Steal, lie, rob their grandparents (or grandchildren). They become irrationally violent. Uncontrollable.

In short, Bush just put the world on notice. For the next 20 years or so, America's official policy is "Anything for Oil."

2/04/2006 1:51 PM  
Blogger moodshifter said...

Be prepared for the ensuing Swift Boating, CR. You are not allowed to unfavorably compare Bush to Chavez so the righty blogosneer with make you pay.

2/04/2006 3:03 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Did you ever think about what a frigging looneytune Rumsfeld really is? A couple of years ago, I read that he sends out hundreds of memos nicknamed "rummygrams" and "snowflakes" and expects them to be answered. Can you imagine working for a headcase like that?
You'd go nuts and never get anything done.

I don't know much about Rumsfeld's personal life. What does he do for fun? What does his wife look like? Did she ever work? Does Donald play any sports?

Does Rumsfeld have children? Are they considered "normal"? What kind of work do they do?

2/04/2006 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Chavez was elected freely and fairly. I suppose no one would say anything if the Evil Dictator Bush was elected with only a 20% turnout. But then were not talking about that are we?
At least TCR realizes that Hitler was not elected fairly which is more than most.

2/04/2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" and then consolidated power "
Which country are we talking about?

2/04/2006 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And corruption is something that is corrosive of democracy"

Did he really say this? Maybe he will attempt a coup of the Republican Congress and save us from our corroding democracy.


2/05/2006 12:48 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Watch Rumsfeld's April 2003 interview on Meet the Press for evidence that he is willing to engage in crude propaganda worthy of Goebbels.

In the middle of the interview, Russert informs Rumsfeld that he has an important call. Rumsfeld takes the call on the air, then hangs up and with a big smile on his face, announces that one of the Iraqis on the infamous deck of cards had just been captured!

That little episode was a cheap and amateurish stunt which spoke volumes about Rumsfeld's commitment to honest and sober news about the war. It serves as prima facie evidence that Barbara Bush's little "Timmy" is a shill for the Bush administration. It also tells me that the taxpayers are being robbed by third-rate propaganda artists like Hill & Knowlton.

The Rumsfeld interview was followed by one with the ambassador to Syria. Watch Russert beat up the poor man mercilessly. Russert had the nerve to hold the Syrian government responsible for what an 88-year old cleric said about Americans while the Ann Coulters of the world were spewing vile and inflammatory lies about Muslims.

2/06/2006 12:24 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Oops! I, of course, meant the Syrian ambassdor to the US, not the ambassador to Syria.

2/06/2006 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think so. Iran is much scarier and easier to demonize (especially because of the '79 revolution and the hostage crisis), and our army is stationed on either side of it. They figure they can pick up Venezuela anytime. I'm wondering what's going to happen when the Chinese figure out that we are really going for physical control of most large oil deposits.

2/07/2006 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we just invoke Godwin's Law and have Rummy shut up from now on?

2/08/2006 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you do need to spend some time rebutting the statement that Hitler was elected legally. Because in fact he was.

The real problem with Rumsfeld's statements wasn't that he invoked Godwin's Law, but that he is an enemy of free elections.

2/11/2006 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big-time PIA:

Apparently NorK proves the intelligence community wrong, but Iraq proves nothing about the hawkosphere.

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