Debra J. Saunders

Free speech? Sheehan should take a look at how her buddy Chavez treats dissidents. As Jackson Diehl reported in The Washington Post last year, the Chavez-controlled legislature passed new media laws that included this choice provision: "Anyone who offends with his words or in writing or in any other way disrespects the president of the republic or whomever is fulfilling his duties will be punished with prison of six to 30 months if the offense is serious, and half of that if it is light."

Dissidents who stand up to Chavez are courageous. They risk time in a Venezuelan prison. Californians who bash Bush on the war risk being hailed as local heroes and appearing on cable news.

Personally, I wish the Capitol Police had allowed Sheehan to stay for the speech in her t-shirt. I think she would have chased a few moderate voters into the pro-Bush column. But that could happen anyway. Americans have to notice when a friend of Hugo Chavez bemoans that she was denied free speech -- when she never seems to stop talking.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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