Robertson: "Will no one rid me of this turbulent king?"

On Monday, 7/22/05, on the 700 Club, televangelist Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez –

I heard a spokesman for Robertson on the radio today, explaining that these statements were made during the political-commentary portion of the show, so Robertson was speaking as a political commentator, and not speaking for the Evangelical community. So, there’s that. Let’s evaluate this as a political comment, as if George Will or Rush Limbaugh had made it. What substance is there?

  1. What’s this about “avoiding a war”? Why would a U.S.-Venezuelan war be necessary? What danger does Chavez represent to the U.S., or to anybody?

  2. Why does it matter that Venezuela is oil-rich? Oil is fungible – one barrel is like another – and Chavez has nothing to do with it but pump it and sell it on the international market. I can’t imagine him declaring an embargo – his government’s most important source of revenue would dry up; and if he embargoes oil exports to the U.S. while still selling it to other countries, that’s the same as no embargo at all, in terms of its effects on world oil prices and availability.

  3. Why does he call Chavez a “strong-arm dictator”? He was elected president twice and survived a recall vote – which international observers certified as free and fair, and all exit polls but those conducted by the opposition showed him the winner. At present, Chavez has a 70% popularity rating.

  4. What’s this about Communism? Chavez is a leftist and is chummy with Castro on perfectly understandable “enemy of my enemy” principles, but he calls himself a “Bolivarian.” And who’s afraid of the big bad Commies any more anyhow? The name of Marx has lost its power to conjure. The Zapatista rebels in Mexico do no even call themselves Marxists or Communists; if their rebellion had started 20 or even 10 years earlier, they almost certainly would have.

  5. What’s this about “Islamic extremism”? Is there even a shred of proof that Chavez (the secularist leader of an almost entirely Catholic country) has given any support to Islamic extremists?

  6. What’s this about “our sphere of influence”? What century is this guy living in? In an excerpt I heard on the radio, Robertson also invoked the Monroe Doctrine ( – which was formulated in 1823 to warn European powers to keep their noses out of the Western Hemisphere, and which in any case has never been recognized as a principle of international law. What’s that got to do with a purely home-grown political movement in a Western-Hemisphere state?

  7. I also heard Robertson accuse Chavez of wrecking Venezuela’s economy. Dat ain’t what I hoid! See this thread:

  8. Bigger question: Under what circumstances, if any, is it legitimate for an American political commentator to call for the assassination of a foreign leader? (I recall a lot of talk about assassinating Hussein, in the run-up to both the Gulf War and the Iraq War.)

I think what really scares the righteous shit out of Robertson and his ilk is that Chavez represents an undeniably democratic wave of leftist politics sweeping Latin America, and you can’t fight that on the old Cold-War terms.

Even bigger question: How can Robertson support the war in Iraq as a means of bringing democracy to Iraqis if he advocates subverting legal democratic elections in Venezuela? The guy is a hypocrite on just about every issue he touches upon. He is just an American “moo-lah” issuing fatwas to further his own agenda.

Just in: Robertson this morning claimed he was misquoted, then this afternoon, he apologized for the statements he claimed were misquoted:

In answer to question 8, a government who assasinates Saddam Hussein might just decide to assasinate you. It’s not like your average assasination includes much due process.

This is the new epithet, similar to calling someone “nigger” or “nigger lover” :mad:

My uninformed guess is that Robertson has some sort of money/investments tied up in Venezuala which he thinks will improve if Chavez were gone.

I’m most curious about Question 1. On what basis does Robertson think that the US is on the brink of war with Venezuela, and what would be the precipitating factors?

The obvious answer to Question 5 is: of course not; it’s sheer blithering idiocy by someone who apparently wasn’t actually listening to the words coming out of his own mouth.

Question 8 is: pretty much never, IMHO, unless one wants to give other countries de facto license to use similar tactics against the US. I dunno, didn’t think the Borgias were a governmental model to emulate.

Other than that, I got nothin’.

NEWS: Robertson lies and tries to weasel out of this:,2933,166642,00.html

I’m not sure there’s a need for a detailed examination of exactly what Robertson thought he was doing. All your questions can be answered fairly simply: Robertson is an idiot who spouted off about things he doesn’t understand. You wouldn’t expend much energy figuring out what the local blowhard 3 barstools down thinks about Chavez and Venezuela, would you?

“Pat, shut the fuck up already” is about as far as this can be taken.

Well, question 8 does have the seeds of a Great Debate in it. Give the OP a little credit.

No matter which portion of the show it’s in, Pat Robertson does not, did not, and will never speak for the “Evangelical Community.”

And with all due respect to BG, close attention to his words is as worthwhile as taking tweezers and a magnifying glass to dog shit.
On second thought: no it isn’t.

OK, I’ll give you question 8…using Robertson’s dumb comments as a debate opener.

The only circumstances assassination of a head of state would be warranted is when we are in a state of open war with that state. So as long as we’re bombing downtown Baghdad there’s no reason to quibble about dropping a bomb on Saddam Hussein’s last known location, as long as we’re sending in soldiers and special forces to capture or kill enemy soldiers including generals there’s no reason to stay away from the enemy Commander in Chief. Even then it would usually be preferable if possible to capture the enemy CinC rather than kill him.

The trouble is that democracy and self-government require transparency and acountability, while assassination plots require secrecy and deniability. We need as few secrets as possible, yet assassination requires secrecy. A secret agency with the unaccountable and unreviewable power to assassinate is inherently antithetical to the rule of law and therefore cannot be used by a free and democratic country that wishes to remain free and democratic for long.

In other stunning surprises, the sun rose in the East today.

Suddenly Pat Robertson’s a political commentator, instead of just a nutbag? Does everybody get to go on the radio as a political commentator these days? And when is my turn?

Considering who we are talking about, shouldn’t that be :


I would think that one could easily (?) pass a law allowing for a delay on the release of information about wartime assassination attempts. I’m pretty sure we’re not technically required to put our military movements on the 7-oclock news either, after all. Were assasination attempts carried out as military operations (as opposed to, say, hiring ninjas) I should think that it would be relatively straightforward to find a large enough pall of secrecy to hide the operation under.

Because the USA has exclusive rigthts to any oil anywhere in the world, donchaknow.

I’ve been occasionally browsing a message board that is mostly rigtht wing. I don’t know why, because there’s a number of people who have said: “Pick a side. You either agree with Pat Robertson on this, or you agree with the anti-christian, America-hating commies”

But then again, a lot of these people feel that “Democrats=Liberalism=Socialism=Communism”(I actually saw someone say that, being serious as well).

From the same source as above, some people appear to believe that Chavez buddy-buddy with Iran and then there was something about Islamic guriellas destablizing the rest of Latin America(I don’t know. My eyes started glazing over at that point).

I keep trying to stop going there, but I keep getting drawn back. It’s akin to wanting to watch a horrific accident even though you realize it will disgust you.

Use the nukes! Boil their heathen blood in the righteous flame of the sword of God! Let the wicked tremble before the mighty wroth of the one true saviour, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who will lead us into a mighty expiation of all His enemies upon the Earth, cursed be their kith and kin and condemned to everlasting fire, brought low by the mighty arm of we, His loyal servants unto death and eternity!

…we’ll be right back…

Maybe they have some things in common, but I wouldn’t compare the two. One has legitimate uses in conversation, the other doesn’t.

ADDENDUM: Pat’s lying (duh):

“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.”
–Pat Robertson, 8/22/2005

Hunh. There and I thought it was just the horizon moving down.