Wednesday, March 06, 2013


OK, that's a sweeping generalization -- some right-wingers may sincerely have had a well-founded, deep-rooted loathing of Chavez, and may have actually been able to write in detail about his failings and their impact on Venezuelans.

I can't name any right-wingers who fit that description, however.

The real point of Hugo-hatred on the American right was nostalgia: nostalgia for the bracingly pleasurable self-righteousness of Cold War anti-communism, and -- possibly more important, because so many Hugo-haters don't really remember the Cold War -- nostalgia for the moral clarity of celebrity-hating in the George W. Bush era.

For most on the online right, the Bush Era was a lost Golden Age. That was their Vietnam, their World War II. Hating Rosie O'Donnell! Hating Barbra Streisand! Hating the Dixie Chicks! Hating news executives and overseas politicians most of them couldn't pick out of a photo! Hating Jimmy Carter! The most prominent emotion on the right in the Bush era wasn't hatred of the enemies we'd actually gone to war against, it was hatred of these boldface names.

And it's been the same with the death of Chavez. Here's the Daily Caller's take on his death: a one-sentence opening paragraph denouncing his reign, followed by paragraph after paragraph after paragraph about Chavez's "hagiographers." It's like a red carpet of hate for the right: Look, there's Sean Penn! Over there -- Michael Moore! Hey, is that Oliver Stone? The only photo accompanying the piece is one of Chavez with Penn. The stories tags are:
Hugo Chavez, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Venezeuela
Now let's look elsewhere on the right:

Gateway Pundit: "Jimmy Carter Mourns 'Positive Legacies' of Hugo Chavez."

Michelle Malkin's Twitchy: "Foul: Rep. Serrano tweets rest in peace; Praises Chavez as 'empowering the powerless'; Update: Doubles down, photo with Chavez." (Serrano is New York congressman Jose Serrano, someone I'm sure no right-winger outside the New York metro area had ever heard of until the past 24 hours. But he's in Congress and has a D after his name, so that's enough.)

Twitchy again: "New York Times reporters swoon over tyrant who silenced Venezuelan press."

The Daily Caller again: "Actor Sean Penn on Hugo Chavez's death: 'I lost a friend I was blessed to have.'" (Because you wouldn't want to have just one article about the fact that Sean Penn was buds with Chavez, would you?)

I repeat: No one on the right hated Hugo Chavez. No one on the right gave a crap about him. No one on the right gives a crap about Venezuela. Every word ever uttered or published on the right about Chavez is part of the right's war against American leftists, liberals, and Democrats -- nothing more.


Victor said...

You keep using the word, "hatred."

Why is that, I wonder?

Fish gotta swim, hater's gotta hate, I guess.

Unknown said...

Good to see Rep. Serrano getting some recognition (even this way). He's a graduate of Dodge Vocational HS in the Bronx, where I taught for ten years. (Jose had already graduated.)

Superfluous Man said...

The Right hates Chavez because all during Bush II, he gave free heating oil to the poor in the United States, as the U.S. gov't cut LIHEAP again and again.

He gave charity to Americans---unforgivable.

Philo Vaihinger said...

No, the right and the US government are mindful of something they don't want - a sudden resurgence of actual communism or even any form of socialism that would be too closely allied with Cuba and create too strong a block whose policies would be at lest annoying if not seriously threatening to American interests.

Of course, the end of communism in Cuba could be in the near future, anyway.