Austin Hill

So, who’s the real “enemy of the state,” anyway?

Over the past week we’ve seen an extraordinary display of discernment - - or lack of discernment, if you will - - from the President of the United States. It started with President Obama allowing himself to be photographed and recorded while glad-handing, back-slapping, and generally enjoying the company of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. It ended with the Obama Administration toying with the idea of attempting to prosecute members of the Bush Administration for being to mean to terrorists.

Let’s first consider Hugo Chavez, and President Obama’s public greeting of him. Chavez is a very troubling character, having helped lead an effort to overthrow his own nation’s government back in 1992. H ended up being sent to prison for the coup attempt, but after his release two years later in 1994, he was able to start his own political movement, and eventually win election to the presidency himself in December of 1998.

And what has happened to Venezuela’s government since Chavez became President? Among many other things, both judicial and legislative power has been concentrated in his hands. A nationwide, privately owned television network - - a network whose editorial stance happened to be quite critical of Chavez and his regime - - had its broadcast licenses revoked by Chavez, and the entire network was replaced by a state-run television network. Chavez himself even sought to change the nation’s constitution so as to abolish presidential term limits, an effort that was narrowly defeated by the nation’s voters by a vote of only 51%. In short, the President who once sought to overthrow his nation’s government has shown himself to have all the tendencies of a not-so-benevolent dictator, something that is inconsistent with democracy and human liberty.

After his warm greeting of Chavez, President Obama remarked that “it’s unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having polite conversation with Mr. Chavez, we are endangering the strategic interest of the United States.” This was a lame response to the criticism that Obama’s behavior had engendered, and worse yet, it completely missed the point.

Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.