Extremist Mullah Calls for Assassination of American Leader

That's Pat Robertson, of course, calling on his good Christian friend, George W. Bush, to murder Hugo Chavez, elected leader of the South American nation of Venezuela. (via Media Matters).

In his frothing rant, Pat manages to accuse of Chavez of being an agent of both "communist infiltration and Muslim extremism" -- a pretty neat trick. If I may be forgiven a personal note, it reminds me of the very first piece of hate mail I received as a young college columnist after publishing some criticism of Ronald Reagan (who had not yet ascended to bipartisan sainthood in those days). A furious Reaganite wrote in to accuse me of being -- I kid you not -- a "Hindu Marxist Nazi." The young cretin was, in his ignorance, simply spewing out any word that he could think of which would denote a feared and despised "Other" in his mind.

The old cretin Pat Robertson is doing the same thing -- but not out of ignorance. Robertson is as wily and wordly as they come, a well-educated son of wealth and privilege who has been in top reaches of the national elite his entire life. (His father was a U.S. Senator.) He knows full well the violent enmity between militantly secular communism and Islamic extremism. But he wants to associate any critic or opponent of the American Empire with whatever might call up the image of the feared and despised Other in the minds of his viewers -- most of whom, it must be said, are far more ignorant than Pat Robertson. (Which is why he has played them for suckers all the way to the bank for lo these many years.) A powerful "Christian" leader with a national following calls for outright murder...Will we see denunciations of this "radical cleric" in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times? Will Tony Blair now refuse to allow this peddler of violent hate speech into the United Kingdom, as he has banned Muslim preachers of poison? Will we see earnest disquisitions from mainstream pundits demanding that the "Christian community" public disassociate itself from this dangerous crank and his murderous theology?