The reaction to Hugo Chavez’s speech in front of the United Nations illustrates a divide between liberals and the left (see this piece by Robert Jensen for more on this).
Maureen Dowd, who can be fairly labeled a mainstream liberal, called Hugo Chavez a “world class nutbar” in today’s New York Times, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi recently called him a “thug.”
Meanwhile Michael Albert, editor of Z Magazine, gives us one leftist’s take on the speech.
“I suspect many leftists would have been happier had Chavez torn into Bush and U.S. institutions by offering more evidence while employing a less religious spin … Chavez might have given evidence how U.S. elites and key institutions impede living and loving and even survival, from Latin America to Asia and back. He might have said that George W. Bush, as the current master purveyor of the most recent violations by the U.S., is, in effect, doing the work of a devil – because he is the spawn of a devilish system. And I suspect many leftists would have probably been happier had Chavez added chapter and verse evidence for his assertions, though I suspect time limits precluded that.”
I suspect that liberals are inclined to rip into Chavez as to not be victimized by the McCarthyite thugs who will, sans any logic, call anyone who does not show complete and utter hatred to the likes of Chavez (those opposed to US imperialism and globalization) a fringe radical.
But one needn’t be a revolutionary, or a radical to agree with Chavez’s main point: that US foreign policy under Bush is a disgrace and a stain on our national honor.