Before Obama turns on his teleprompter and clears his throat to speak before a State-of-the-Union joint session of Congress tomorrow evening, it’s worth highlighting the ONE campaign promise he DID keep this past year.
Peppered throughout his presidential campaign were pronouncements that he, the community organizer, would meet with tyrannical leaders of nations who are antagonistic toward the United States. As a new president, without preconditions, he would proudly sit eye-ball to eye-ball with them.
April 17, 2009: At the ‘Summit of the Americas’ on twin-island nation Trinidad and Tobago, an eager-as-a-puppy Obama met, chatted, and back-slapped Marxist Hugo Chavez. Chavez sweetened the meeting by gifting Obama with a copy of The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. Written by Eduardo Galeano, the book portrays U.S. and European economic and political interference in the region.
A promise fulfilled.
Let’s examine dates of note that have taken place since President Obama’s meeting with Chavez.
April 19, 2009: Obama referenced the Chavez meeting:
The whole notion was that if we showed courtesy or opened up dialogue with governments that had previously been hostile to us, that that somehow would be a sign of weakness,” Obama said, recalling his race for the White House and challenging his critics today. “The American people didn’t buy it,” Obama said. “And there’s a good reason the American people didn’t buy it — because it doesn’t make sense.”
May 7, 2009: News broke that well-known Venezuelan nongovernmental organizations were warned that a bill was being drafted by loyal Chavez lawmakers that would be used to financially cripple entities that criticized Chavez.
May 8, 2009: The next day, Chavez seized the assets of foreign and domestic oil contractors in his country to control more of Venezuela’s oil industry:
“They come with their soldiers from the National Guard, and they take what they want,” he [oil industry official] said, “and you, as the owner of your company, can do absolutely nothing.”
June 3, 2009: Referencing the U.S. government’s taking 60% ownership in a once-powerful symbol of American ingenuity – General Motors, Chavez was haranguing the ‘curse’ of capitalism and praising socialism. He joked on live television:
“Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama! Fidel [Castro], careful or we are going to end up to his right!”
July 10, 2009: The Irish Examiner reported: President Hugo Chavez’s government was imposing tough new regulations on Venezuela’s cable television while revoking the licenses of more than 200 radio stations.
July 29, 2009: Obama appointed Chavez-admirer Mark Lloyd ‘Chief Diversity Officer’ at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to a position specially formed for him. Back in 2006, Lloyd authored Prologue to a Farce: Communication and Democracy in America – a book outlining how leftist activists can oust commercial broadcasters (conservative talk radio) off the airwaves and replace them with public broadcasters.
The National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) unearthed a 2006 a tape of Mark Lloyd praising Chavez:
“In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution – a democratic revolution. To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela.
“The property owners and the folks who then controlled the media in Venezuela rebelled – worked, frankly, with folks here in the U.S. government – worked to oust him. But he came back with another revolution, and then Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country.”
August 4, 2009: The White House issued a call for informants to report on Americans who publicly opposed the President’s health care plan ASAP – even those speaking against it in casual conversation. (What a coincidence this happened six days AFTER Mark Lloyd was appointed FCC Commissioner!)
From the White House website:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 14, 2009: The Miami Herald revealed that an unclassified report listed examples of Venezuelan government efforts to crack down on or seize control of media outlets to stifle criticism.
November 25, 2009: Reuters news agency reported the arrival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Caracas as part of a South America tour. Ahmadinejad hailed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a fellow anti-US ‘brother’:
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez used a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday to brand Israel as a murderous agent of Washington. Chavez and Ahmadinejad, on the last leg of a tour of three left-leaning South American nations, hugged, held hands, and praised each other as fellow revolutionaries.
The Venezuelan singled out a comment by Israeli President Shimon Peres, during a visit this month to South America, that his and Ahmadinejad’s days in power may be numbered.
“We know what the state of Israel stands for — a murderous arm of the Yankee empire,” Chavez told joint news conference. “What the president of Israel said, we take as a threat.”
Chavez broke relations with Israel this year. He won praise in the Muslim world after branding an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip as genocide.
December 18, 2009:
Obama met with world leaders, including Chavez, and addressed the Global Warming Summit in Copenhagen (in the middle of a raging blizzard). After our president spoke, Chavez stepped to the podium. Referring to the ‘sulfur’ stench at the pulpit, Chavez mockingly referred to Obama as “Obama Nobel War Prize” and chastened him for his lack of commitment to climate change and lack of transparency.
Chavez: “If Obama, Nobel War Prize, said here -by the way, it smells of sulfur here. It smells of sulfur. It keeps smelling of sulfur in this world.”
January 20, 2010: America-hating Chavez declared that the United States Navy, incognito and in the dark of night, launched a weapon of such colossal capacity that it triggered the massive, deadly earthquake in Haiti. Chavez also warned the world that it was only a drill for the United States THIS time, but the final target is destroying and taking over…Iran:
January 25, 2010: Six TV stations forced off air in Venezuela.
An opposition TV station in Venezuela along with five others were taken off the air early Sunday for violating rules issued by President Hugo Chavez’s government, a station spokeswoman said.
The new rules require stations to air Chavez’s speeches, among other mandates. Chavez critics view many of those speeches, which can last for hours, as government propaganda.< /blockquote>
We’re going to hear powerful language from the President tomorrow night. Populist language meant to disguise philosophies and failings. Language to deflect and delude. Language punctuated with big smiles, broad gestures, stern gazes, varying volumes, clipped sentences, and a jutting jaw.
In spite of the political theater on display, let’s never forget the many reasons Obama won’t mention the one promise he kept.