Lessons from the Chavez ControversyIssue: Sept-Oct 2006
Statements by top Democrats chastising clownish Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his outrageous attacks on President Bush-whom he called variously "the devil," an "ex-alcoholic," and a "sick" and "very dangerous" man-were necessary and appropriate and deserve praise. Whatever his complaints about U.S. policy in the world, Chavez was way out of line, especially in making some of the comments during his address to the United Nations General Assembly. Still, there may be some broader lessons in this otherwise insignificant drama on the margins of the annual UN meeting.
Charles Rangel, New York's senior House Democrat, had perhaps the most interesting response to Chavez, who continued his bizarre grandstanding in Harlem, a portion of Rangel's district. Rangel said the following: