For some, all is forgiven if you hate the rich with a white-hot passion and talk the language of populist redistribution, while wrapping your program in a bow of rancid, paranoid anti-Americanism.
Then, every allowance will be made for your thuggery. Everyone will obsess about your colorful and charming personality. And praise you when you’re gone.
Chávez’s American admirers apparently consider his program SCHIP with teeth. They must envy that while we endlessly debate ending “tax breaks for oil companies” in the U.S., Chávez gets to run a state-owned oil company and nationalize other industries besides. They must rue that someone here in the U.S. who speaks the truth about the noxiousness of American power merely gets a tenure-track position, while down in Venezuela he gets to run a country by decree. Life just isn’t fair.