Religious Right leader and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson declared a fatwa on Aug. 22, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Surprisingly, the Bush Administration and major Religious Right organizations have failed to condemn the comments.
"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said of Chávez on his show, The 700 Club. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
Robertson, on his show today, backtracked, claiming he was misinterpreted:
ROBERTSON: Wait a minute, I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should, quote, "take him out," and "take him out" can be a number of things including kidnapping. There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time.
Maybe those who should be condemning Robertston choose to live in the alternate universe that allows Robertson's lie to replace the truth. How else can you explain the lack of an appropriate response from Republican and Religious Right leaders?
The tame response from the administration focused on the idea that assassination was not administration policy.
"Certainly, it's against the law. Our department doesn't do that type of thing," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the top administration official to remark. "Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time."
Of course, most private citizens don't have their own nationally broadcast television shows, reaching about 1 million people per broadcast. Most private citizens don't have a voice in national politics, either.
Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, called Robertson's comments "inappropriate." He said the U.S. government "does not share his view" and is not plotting to kill Chavez.
And that was about it. No strong words. No condemnation. Please ignore the crazy man on television, and oh by the way, make sure his viewers continue to vote for the GOP.
Robertson has often used his show and the political advocacy group he founded, the Christian Coalition, to support President Bush.)