In my new endeavor to find points on which to criticize Obama, I realized that there is one glaring irritation that I had willfully overlooked while rooting for him during the elections, and that is his willingness to lump Hugo Chavez together with the leaders of Iran, Syria, North Korea, and at times even Hamas.
The anti-Chavez movement in this country is so ridiculous that it is carried out almost entirely as innuendo and vague associations. It is carried out in this Rovian manner because when pressed, no one can name any specific threat that Chavez has ever posed to his neighbors, the US, or anyone other than obsenely wealthy Venezuelans who prospered at the catastrophic expense of the general Venezuelan population for generations.
My gripe with Obama on this issue is not so much that he has pushed anti-Chavez sentiment himself, but that he has never attempted to separate Chavez from heads of state that actually pose a threat to the US or our interests when answering questions where all these leaders are lumped together.
The overall effect of associating Chavez with Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the same as when the Bush administration used Sadam Hussein in the same sentence with 9/11 over and over: the general public leaps to conclusions which have no basis in reality.
In a discussion on Chavez on this blog some time ago, I begged my detractors to come up with ONE specific reason for their feverish hatred of Chavez, and no one could.
I think it would be honest and honorable of Obama to say, "Look, whatever problems we may have relating to Venezuela, let's not include Chavez in the list of leaders of terrorist organizations and rogue states."