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Friday, November 30, 2007


Olbermann vs. Chavez

A couple weeks ago, the generally agreeable and insightful (if hardly revolutionary) Keith Olbermann had this to say about Hugo Chavez in his "Worst Persons in the World" segment:
"The runner-up, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, the non-stop coffee drinker who supposedly could go through his eight-hour TV talk show without a bathroom break. Please erase that image now. At the OPEC summit in Saudi Arabia, ending a TV interview there by saying, quote—this is translated—"Look, I have to go. For a while now I've needed to go to the bathroom. And I‘m going to pee. Do you want me to pee on you," unquote.

"Gosh, President Chavez, maybe you should have asked that before you started doing that to your own country‘s laws and citizens."
Huh? The quote itself, if true, could be evidence of nothing more than someone with a bad sense of humor, or it could imply something else (depending very much on who he was talking to). But the actual point is just ludicrous - Chavez has been "pissing on his country's laws and citizens"? How exactly has he been doing that? By distributing oil revenues to the citizens in the form of health care and other social benefits, or having them vote (what a concept!) on changes in the laws?

Tonight it got even more bizarre. Mitt Romney, who, like all the Republican candidates, has made clear his vehement opposition to illegal immigration, apparently said yesterday to the Tampa Tribune that of course this didn't apply to Cubans, where "the more the merrier." Analyzing this, Olbermann stammered out this (transcript mine; it won't be online until tomorrow):

"We sort of lump Venezuela and Cuba together in terms of dictatorships, and yet I guess Venezuelans...would apply [to immigrate, I guess?]...I don't know...it's...um...either I'm too complicated for it or it's too complicated for me."
What a revealing quote. First, there's the absurd bit about dictatorships. You all know how I feel about Cuba, but let's grant that it's conventional "wisdom" (or wis-dumb) that Cuba is a dictatorship. But, considering that Chavez has been repeatedly elected, how exactly he would qualify as a dictator is beyond me. And the rest of the quote actually illustrates that. Olbermann wanted to get out something negative about Chavez, but since what he had to say was complete nonsense, and he couldn't actually back it up with any actual facts or arguments, he got into stammering, and then spitting out the line about how it was all too complicated for his poor little brain.

No, Keith, it's not complicated. What is complicated, or hard to understand, is how someone with as much insight into the hypocrisy and lies of the establishment as yourself could fall right in step with their characterization of events in Venezuela.

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