Giving Hugo Chavez credit where credit is due

Within a few days after the announcement of the death of Hugo Chavez, I ran into a friend who was born in Venezuela and had spent his early childhood there before coming to the U.S. He still has family and friends in Venezuela and has traveled there occasionally, even during Chavez's presidency. To say that my friend was not a big fan of Hugo Chavez would be a colossal understatement.

So, when I ran into my friend I sarcastically inquired, "Estoy seguro que estas completamente destrozado por la muerte de Hugo Chavez, ¿No ?"  -  "I'm sure you're completely shattered by the death of Hugo Chavez, Right?"

My friend looked at me with a perfectly straight face and told me that, actually, he was seriously reconsidering his feelings about Chavez. He then explained:

"Despite all his faults, all his nuttiness and all the damage he did to Venezuela, you still have to consider that this was a man who called Barack Obama a clown! That's something that neither McCain nor Romney had the huevos to do. Ya gotta give him some credit for that!"

I had almost forgotten that episode. There had been far more media coverage of Chavez speaking to the UN General Assembly in 2006 and calling George W. Bush The Devil. But, sure enough, Chavez had called Obama "a clown" after Obama had criticized Chavez's ties to Iran and Cuba. Chavez claimed that Obama's criticism was a ploy to garner votes.

I quipped to my friend that, despite having been dissed by his Venezuelan buddy, Barack Obama was probably now sitting shiva for Chavez, who had now joined such other members of Obama's pantheon of heroes and role models as Lenin, Mao, and Frank Marshall Davis. I added that Obama didn't have too many heroes and role models left alive, except of course for Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe (a big proponent of "wealth redistribution" who has presided over a "fundamental re-structuring" of Zimbabwe).

My friend then wondered aloud how Leftists in general, and especially Hollywood Libs like Sean Penn, a fawning bootlicker of both Chavez and Obama who never met a Leftist autocrat he didn't like, would reconcile the dichotomy of two of his own heroes at odds with each other. But then we agreed that Sean Penn probably couldn't even spell "dichotomy," let alone grasp the concept.

As Shakespeare said, "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones." My friend's premise is correct: Ya gotta give Chavez credit for knowing a clown when he saw one, and for calling a clown a clown. 'Trouble is, though some may call him Obozo, this clown isn't the kind who makes us laugh.

Stu Tarlowe's own pantheon of heroes and role models includes Barry Farber, Jean Shepherd, Long John Nebel, Aristide Bruant, Col. Jeff Cooper, Meir Kahane and G. Gordon Liddy.

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