Barack ’n’ Hugo, &c.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and President Barack Obama in 2009


You may have heard what Hugo Chávez said the other day: If he were an American, he would vote for Obama; and if Obama were a Venezuelan, he would vote for him — that is, Obama would vote for Chávez. Do you doubt it? Hard to. (For a story on Chávez’s remarks, go here.)

During the 2008 debates, Obama identified Venezuela, along with Iran, as a “rogue state.” Months later, as president, he was grasping Chávez with a soul-brother handshake and calling him “mi amigo,” his friend. Funny how things work out that way.

A headline said, “Chavez vows stronger socialist drive.” (Story here.) I thought, “If only our own incumbent, running for reelection, would let it all hang out that way . . .”

Another headline said, “Obama to designate Chavez home as nat’l monument.” I said, “Hey, wait a minute, that goes too far!” Turned out to be Cesar Chavez. (Here.)

Did you see this story? “Biden cites leaders for Hispanic Heritage Month.” The article informed us that the vice president, “along with his wife, Jill, hosted a reception celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month poolside on a warm fall evening Wednesday at their Naval Observatory residence.”

Biden “recognized” a string of officials: the labor secretary, Hilda Solis; the White House domestic-policy director, Cecilia Muñoz; the Colorado lieutenant governor, Joseph Garcia; and the Nevada attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto.

Those are all Democrats, by the way. Kind of curious. This was a national event, right?

Biden “also acknowledged several Hispanic-American Olympians and Paralympians on the 2012 Team USA.”

Great, great. I tell you what would be great: if the day came when these people told Joe Biden, the Democratic party, and the American Left in general to shove it. These people are Americans, are they not? Do they need a special month? Are they handicapped children, dogs and cats? I think we have a Spay and Neuter Your Pets Month, don’t we?

Disgusting. Demeaning. You wonder where dignity has gone, much less a sense of nationhood.

If you were an American Olympian, could you stand to be honored separately, because of your ethnicity? Because of where your forebears came from? I mean, could you stand it?

According to this report, Hillary Clinton “delivered a new, stark warning to Iran that it must stop arming and supporting the Assad regime.” Oh, that has them shaking in their boots, no doubt.

Do you know what Obama said during the ’08 debates? He said he would tell Iran, “If you don’t change your behavior, then there will be dire consequences.”

Ooooooooohhhhh . . .

You’ll love this: “Some political momentum could be on the line when a judge rules on whether to keep intact Pennsylvania’s tough new law requiring voters to show photo identification in next month’s presidential election.”

Yeah, the tough new law. It’s so tough to show ID. I mean, when do we ever have to do it?

Why do Democrats oppose these laws? You are right, my cynical but reasonable friends: the better to steal elections. I’m sorry to sound so crude. But — get ready for more crudity — sometimes the truth is like that. (For the above-cited story, go here.)

Uh-oh, this just in: “A judge on Tuesday blocked Pennsylvania’s divisive voter identification requirement from going into effect on Election Day, delivering a hard-fought victory to Democrats who said it was a ploy to defeat President Barack Obama and other opponents who said it would prevent the elderly and minorities from voting.”

Whew! Thank goodness democracy has been restored!

By the way, why don’t “the elderly and minorities” — does that include Jews, by the way? Japanese Americans? — protest at this claim that they, uniquely, are so inept or pathetic that, unlike their fellow Americans, they can’t produce ID?

Why does no one ever take offense? That is a (not-sweet) mystery of life.

In an Impromptus last week, I spoke of a certain tension on the left: between the impulse to honor Muslim demands and the impulse to defend women’s rights. This comes up a lot. It recently came up in Spain, where Muslim immigrants harassed meter maids in their neighborhood — they couldn’t stand the sight of women working, or something. So, naturally, the women were removed.

It has come up again in a story about IKEA. The company sent its catalogue to Saudi Arabia. And the company airbrushed out the women, Soviet-style. The company now regrets it, apparently.

So, which will it be? Which side, which impulse, will win out? When I was in college, the second-worst thing you could be was “ethnocentric.” (The worst thing you could be was, of course, racist.) It would have been “ethnocentric” of IKEA to send a catalogue picturing women to Saudi Arabia. Obviously, life in Sweden is different from life in Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, it’s kind of not nice to airbrush women out of the picture, right?

Oh, the tension, the tension . . .