Saturday, April 24, 2010

The WSJ on Bush versus Obama approach on political dissent

Bari Weiss has an interesting comparison on the obvious support of Bush for political dissent under his term and the Obama approach of best wishes but tough.  And yet it is not a partisan piece in that Mr. Weiss is aware of the negative legacy of the Iraq war and how it undermines other positive actions he might have undertaken.  I bring this OpEd to your attention because there is a significant portion devoted to Marcel Granier of RCTV.  Indeed, we in Venezuela are aware that the Obama administration thinks that Chavez is a creep and his regime a neo-totalitarian concept.  But a few more energetic words would be welcome.

I would say one thing to Mr. Weiss: the US are entering the world of welfare state where business is essential to support its cost.  Europeans have thus become masters at making deals with all sorts of unsavory regimes because bills need to get paid and taxes to pay them are collected from these business deals.  The Obama administration took over a country in crisis and is using expensive means to find its way out.  Europeanization of its foreign policy is almost a given.


  1. gatorgab6:29 PM

    Daniel we don't WANT "Europization" of the USA! WE don't want permanent underemployment, 20% VAT, and no hope of acquiring wealth before retirement. Many of us will not rest until we return to the America of LIBERTY and free markets and low taxation, low unemployment, and minimal welfare state. Anything else wil mean a long-term disaster, not just for Americans, but for humanity. We must show people the way out of their quagmires is via classical liberalism, and I don't mean the perversion the term "liberal" is used to mean now.

    And if you think Obama thinks much differently inside than Hugo Chavez - you are mistaken. The packaging is much more polished, that is for sure. But the fascist beast's heart stil beats inside.

  2. gatorgab

    Obama fascist? Gimme a break! Call him commie if you want... but fascism is what I have at home and it does not look a bit like what I see coming from the US. You guys need to take a deep breath and attack Obama properly. Such language only benefits him, you know....

  3. Okay. The President of the United States is a stone cold hard leftist of the European mold. He is the President for now. But dawg willing... and a little help from the Gators he won't be able to screw over this nation much longer.

    I will vote for Mario Rubio for FL Senate and will abide by the out come of the election. That said, I think it's best to leave US politics out of this blog if they don't intersect with Vz.

    Ever notice how many of us Bible thumper Rethuglicans agree with you?

    Note to DamnGater: I'm a Denver Broc fan now.

  4. Kolya9:47 PM

    Daniel, most people in the US don't really care what is the real meaning of words such as "fascism" and "socialism." They use these words interchangeably as a bogeyman. Just like in the Soviet Union people used "fascism" and "capitalism" for the same bogeyman purposes. And, of course, Chavistas do the same.

    In any event, if we follow Gatorgabs criteria the US under Eisenhower must have been a terrible place for freedom loving Americans, and Eisenhower was nothing less than an an evil redistributionist. After all, back then the US had less income inequality than now. Furthermore, during Eisenhower the top marginal tax rate was 91 percent and he, as president, refused to lower it. What a commie he was!

    Forget about those miserable Europeans. Let us remember our neighbors to the north, those poor, poor Canadians who have endured decades of tyranny.

  5. Daniel, I would argue that in some ways, the Bush administration was one of the best supporters Chavez ever had-- especially after Bush's tacit support for the 2002 coup attempt. For the next six years, Chavez could play on fears of "Yankee imperialism."

    Obama's low-key approach to Venezuela makes Chavez's rants about imminent US intervention seem even more ridiculous than ever. It makes it much harder for him to distract Venezuelans from their horrible domestic situation by warning about imaginary threats from the US.

  6. Gene

    Let's not forget that the Iraq war inhibited any serious effort of the Bush administration against Venezuela, as long as Chavez dutifully sent as much oil as he could send up North.

    In other words, they played together a nasty game of business is business.

  7. Boludo Tejano6:35 AM

    Daniel, most people in the US don't really care what is the real meaning of words such as "fascism" and "socialism." They use these words interchangeably as a bogeyman.

    Good point. Such as the way that Bertha Lewis recently referred to socialists and to the McCarthy era.

    One phenomenon observable in the US is the pseudo-authority: someone who pretends to state an objective fact when in reality the alleged fact is merely an opinion stated to further a partisan agenda. IOW, propaganda disguised as fact. One example of a pseudo-authority would be the TV ad that stated "Doctors prefer Anacin." Yeah, right.

    Another example of a pseudo-authority was the pundit who presumed to have the knowledge to objectively observe differences between right and left in the US: "the phenomenon of total epistemic closure that Sanchez describes is almost entirely limited to the right." While pretending to be objective enough to credibly make such a statement, the pundit is in fact highly partisan. This particular pseudo authority long ago forfeited any credibility for being an objective observer when he wrote ”I hate President George W. Bush.” And there are many boludos around who believe such a partisan pseudo-authority to be a credible, objective source, simply because they share the pseudo-authority’s partisan agenda.

  8. Anonymous8:14 PM

    "Let's not forget that the Iraq war inhibited any serious effort of the Bush administration against Venezuela, as long as Chavez dutifully sent as much oil as he could send up North."

    And if Bush had intervened more overtly he would have been charged with gringo imperialism. In any case, the brutal Saddam Hussein dictatorship is kaput, and the Iraqis have a chance for a better life. Life is full of trade-offs.

  9. Kolya said:

    "Daniel, most people in the US don't really care what is the real meaning of words such as "fascism" and "socialism." They use these words interchangeably as a bogeyman."

    I say to Kolya:

    Kolya that's because we are stupid and love to scare people :)

  10. Kolya1:13 AM

    [Daniel, my second and last on this thread, since is veering off topic.]

    Boludo, you indirectly referred to Chait, a liberal commentator in the US. Well, Chait is an intelligent and well informed guy, but, as far as I know, nobody claims that he's an objective figure. What I like of relatively young people commentators such as Chait (left), McArdle (libertarian), Wilkinson (libertarian), Salam (conservative), Friedersdorf, (conservative), Manzi (conservative) is that they all have their strong point of views, but because of their intellectual honesty they are worth to listen to even when you happen to disagree with them. They are are not like the usual contributors of Daily Kos or the Corner.

    As far as the epistemic closure of the right (i.e., there is more of it on the the US right than on the US left), I found it refreshing that several libertarians and conservatives agreed with Sanchez: at this point in time this is more of problem of the American right--it was not always so. (BTW, Sanchez pretty much agreed with the way Chait described his position.)

    Incidentally, for a recent conversation between the liberal Chait and the conservative Ponnuru (in which the first few minutes is about the epistemic closure issue) go to:

    It would be great if similar online dialogues could be held between Venezuelans of opposing political camps.

  11. I agree with what another poster said. A lot of US pronouncements about Venezuela just give that scumbag Chavez more reason to claim the fight is between him and the US and the opposition are just US lackeys. Chavez loves to rant about the big bag USA boogeyman precisely because he knows there won't be any American attack on Venezuela, but his stupid followers apparently buy the load of crap enough to make it worthwhile for him.

  12. Boludo Tejano9:20 PM

    Daniel: IIRC, I posted here last night. You have already posted comments this morning. I had two previous posts.What gives?

  13. Boludo Tejano3:38 AM

    Try it again....

    Kolya, two points.
    First point : Chait is not a disinterested party- as you admit. As if such a partisan has the credibility to make an objective judgment on that issue! His opining on the relative amount of epistemic closure in the left versus the right has as much credibility as God-given Hair stating that there is no corruption in Chavismo.

    Chait’s observation is just more of the following narrative: “libs are brighter, better educated, better traveled, more knowledgeable, more tolerant, less bigoted …blah...blah...blah… than the wingnuts. Yes, we libs are God’s gift to the universe.” This narrative has been going on since at least the days of Adlai II. One current variation on the narrative is the lily-white Tea Partiers claim.

    Second point: you and Chait, among others, exhibit a great deal of interest in defining group differences. Whereas my point of view is that there is always someone more XXX and someone less XXX than I- on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps because I saw negative stereotyping applied to myself and others in my youth, I prefer to identify myself as an individual and not as a member of a group. You apparently have a different point of view. On a number of occasions, without any prompting, you have come up with the observation that can be boiled down to “My group is better than your group.” Group identification versus individual identification.


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