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July 5, 2006
Cindy Sheehan: I'd Rather Live Under Hugo Chavez Than George Bush

Cindy Sheehan continues to embarrass all of the politicians who hitched their wagons to her star when she spent last summer haranguing George Bush for a second meeting with him to protest her son's death in Iraq. When she restricted herself strictly to bashing Bush on the war, the Democrats loved her, turning her into a national celebrity. However, when she used that attention into a platform for a radical leftist agenda, the same politicians who feted her suddenly caught a case of collective amnesia.

And for good reason, as it turns out. Her latest foolish and embarrassing stunt came today when she embraced Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and declared that she would rather live under his rule than that of the duly elected President of her native country. That wasn't all she had to say, either:

O'Donnell: Would you rather live under Hugo Chavez than President George Bush?

Sheehan: Uh, yes.

O: Yes?

S: You know, Hugo Chavez is not a dictator like you introduced him. He's been democratically elected eight time, and ---

O: Saddam Hussein was democratically elected.

S: Yeah, hold on a second, he, uh, he is not anti-American, he has helped the poor people of America, he has sent aid to New Orleans, he has sold heating oil to disadvantaged people in America, in the United States of America, at low cost. His country loves him, and for us to say that we have some kind of influence over Venezuelan policy is wrong. The people of Venezuela have elected him overwhelmingly eight times.

Imagine that! Hugo Chavez got elected with overwhelming margins in eight straight elections. Amazing how popular a man can be when he stages a coup to seize power. Freedom House has this to say about Venezuela and its benificent leader:

The Republic of Venezuela was established in 1830, nine years after independence from Spain. Long periods of instability and military rule ended with the establishment in 1961 of civilian rule and the approval of a constitution. Until 1993, the social-democratic Democratic Action Party (AD) and the Social Christian Party (COPEI) dominated politics. Former president Carlos Andres Perez (1989 - -1993) of the AD was nearly overthrown by Chavez and other nationalist military officers in two 1992 coup attempts in which dozens were killed. ...

In February 1999, Chavez won with 57 percent of the vote, taking the reins of the world's fifth-largest oil-producing country.

A constituent assembly dominated by Chavez followers drafted a new constitution that strengthened the presidency and allowed Chavez to retain power until 2013. After Venezuelans approved the new constitution in a national referendum on December 15, 2000, congress and the Supreme Court were dismissed. Although he was reelected as president, new national elections held in July 2000 marked a resurgence of a political opposition that had been hamstrung in its efforts to contest Chavez's stripping of congress and the judiciary of their independence and power. Opposition parties won most of the country's governorships, about half the mayoralties, and a significant share of power in the new congress. Nevertheless, that November, Chavez's congressional allies granted him special fast-track powers that allowed him to decree a wide range of laws without parliamentary debate.

Freedom House rates Venezuela as "partly free". But Cindy Sheehan wants us to believe that Hugo Chavez isn't a dictator and that living under his rule, without an independent legislature and judiciary, is preferable to living in the United States.

We have yet to hear from the politicians that flocked to her side last year on the unquestioned moral authority of these latest pronouncements. One of those politicians would be Coleen Rowley, running for Congress in my MN-02 district. She announced her intention to join Camp Casey in Crawford at the height of the circus last August. Now one has to Google her site to find the barest mention of Sheehan, but former MN-06 candidate Scott Mortenson notes her support of Sheehan as one of the main factors for his endorsement of Sheehan in this race.

Your potential constituents would like to know, Coleen -- do you consider Hugo Chavez an overwhelmingly popular democrat as your ally Sheehan insists, or a autocratic strongman?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 5, 2006 10:22 PM

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