The story I saw today about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez tightening his reins of power filled me with rage.

I wonder if the American Left will share in my rage.

After all, Lefties from Congressman Dennis Kucinich to Actor Sean Penn have shared their open adoration of this socialist dictator.

Chavez's latest plans for power include 26 laws he just ushered in giving him--you guessed it--more control of the country and its people.

So why would the Left in America continue to support such a leader, while at the same time constantly castigating President Bush about everything under the sun?

Many on the Left feel that Bush is stripping Americans of rights and sending us down the slippery slope of complete government control of our lives. And yet that IS what Hugo Chavez is ACTUALLY DOING in Venezuela!

One of my biggest intellectual gripes with many on the Left has been their compassion and sometimes outright support for communist regimes that have literally sent thousands and millions to their graves. How on earth could Bush be considered a dictator when they these leaders ACTUALLY WERE??

In 2006, war protester and activist Cindy Sheehan actually said she would prefer to have Chavez leading America than Bush!

HUH??

Did she REALLY mean that?? COULD she really mean that??

Apparently so.

Few had the guts to question Chavez when he referred to our President as "the devil" himself, reeking of sulfur and all.

So as Chavez continues on his quest to get everything from endless terms as President to further state control of the FOOD of his nation, the Left will battle Bush over some things he has done, and many things they FEAR he will do. Chavez just gave himself the power to shut down businesses that don't adhere to state price controls--with the option to send them to PRISON FOR 10 YEARS if they don't follow the orders!

Ask the protesters of Venezuela who they would rather have leading THEIR country.

Cindy Sheehan and Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte would no doubt not like their answer.

Columnist James Lileks recently wrote on the death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn: ""Reading Solzhenitsyn makes it difficult to take seriously the people in this culture who insist that Dissent has been squelched. Brother, you have no idea."

No, many on the Left HAVE NO IDEA. Or else they wouldn't describe Bush as the supreme dictator, while supporting true dictators like Castro and Chavez and others.

The real truth is Belafonte and Penn and Glover and Sheehan would have been sent to the Gulags long ago if they protested a real dictator the way they have protested Bush.

The real truth is that if they were Venezuelan citizens and spoke of Chavez in such cavalier and disrespectful ways their dissent would not even be an afterthought. It wouldn't be ALLOWED to happen.

Thank God even the Devil lets us speak our mind, huh?