The criticism of Chavez came out quick and heavy, and from what I thought were unlikely sources. Nancy Pelosi, for one, was upset by Chavez's frontal attack on Bush, as was Charlie Rangel. I was surprised. I thought we were a country that welcomed and defended free speech. It is not as if Limbaugh and others of his ilk have not been chronically name-calling for years, and continue to do so on a daily basis. Whether Chavez's remarks were true or not is not the issue (although perhaps it ought to be), the issue is his right to say them whether we approve of them or not. Remember. Free speech. The Constitution. All that.
A reader, not pleased with my support of Chavez, suggested that supporting Chavez was not a good way to get Progressives elected. I do not believe I suggested that it was. Apparently for Republicans the only issue is getting elected. As I am not a Republican (heaven forbid that I could fall so low), and if I were trying to get elected (I think I would rather be a used car salesman), I guess I wouldn't comment favorably on Chavez. What I would do is what all Republicans running for office this year will do - lie. After all, what else can they do? They have an absolutely abysmal record on anything you can think of: the "war," the economy, truth, torture, war crimes, Katrina, even terrorism, etc., etc., etc. I might even go so far as to claim to be "compassionate," an attribute conspicuosly absent in our present crop of Republican office holders.
Our Congress is being asked by Bush/Cheney to make torture legitimate and to insure that those who have been engaging in it up to now will not be punished for it (including Bush/Cheney themselves). I do not think this is a good idea. I do not believe laws should be changed retroactively to protect criminals (it is unconstitutional to do so I think). But Bush/Cheney do not let the Constitution stand in the way of whatever it is they want to do. Nor do they concern themselves with following our laws. By the standards of U.S. and International law they are obviously criminals several times over. They know it. The world knows it. This is precisely why they are so desperate to get the laws changed and to insure that Republicans continue to control both the House and the Senate. This must not be allowed to happen unless you are prepared to enter the sewers of history.