By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
I Am The Enemy
Pat Robertson, televangelist and anchor of his own show The 700 Club (700 what?) backed away Wednesday from his helpful foreign policy advice to assassinate Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, a man with close ties to Fidel Castro and a belief that President Bush wants him killed.
“If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it,” Robertson, 75, told his viewers on Monday. “It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.”
Well, Pat, we don’t do that anymore. Executive orders by presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan banned political assassinations decades ago.
On Tuesday, Roberts backtracked and attempted clarification of his comments, claiming he didn’t say to “assassinate” Chavez and reiterated the phrase “take him out,” which leaves quite a few non-fatal options to take out a dictator, such as kidnapping.
But, once realizing that film doesn’t lie, Robertson apologized Wednesday for suggesting we assassinate a foreign head of state. And, of course, the only comments from the government and the White House, which shares much of its same conservative and evangelical base with Robertson, didn’t have much to say about his actions. The Department of State called Robertson’s comments inappropriate. You think? One can only imagine what this country would do if a prominent broadcaster and so-called religious leader overseas called for the assassination of one of our leaders. But, alas, the Bush White House was quick to turn the other way, leaving many in the media and blogs to wonder if Robertson is a valid source and if Christians enjoy being associated with the likes of him.
Robertson, a presidential candidate in 1988, is not new to the saying-ridiculous-things-on-television-but-somehow-getting-away-with-it world. After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, he agreed with fellow sleazeball Jerry Falwell on The 700 Club that the attacks were God’s punishment for homosexuals, liberals and feminists.
As the dust begins to clear and most are left wondering what the 700 stands for, one thing is certain: what shreds of credibility Robertson might have had left are now obliterated. Bush would do best to distance himself from the far right, or at least their outspoken and, frankly, ungodly, spokespersons.