Harvard Law Prof Charles Ogletree Gushes Over 'Generosity' of Hugo Chavez

Gee, why would anyone get the impression -- GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, for example -- that Harvard Law School is fertile wetlands for left-wing politics?

In Cruz's case, his suspicions are well-founded -- the man graduated from the school in the mid-1990s. For those of us who aren't Harvard alum, its faculty members often supply evidence to bolster that perception. (audio clip after page break)

Case in point -- Charles Ogletree, who boasts of mentoring both Michelle and Barack Obama when they attended Harvard Law, was on Al Sharpton's radio show yesterday and talking about the demise of Hugo Chavez. (h/t for audio, Brian Maloney at mrctv.org) --

I think it's worth noting yesterday we lost the president and the leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and I know there's been some conversation about that and what people may not know is that as much as people see his sort of anti-American point of view, one of our former members of Congress has had a good relationship with him and I think that makes a big difference. When you think about Venezuela as the fourth largest donor of, provider of oil and other assets to the United States, I think it's worth noting that in fact one of his great friends and great supporters here in the United States who's been talking about him for a long time because of giving fuel to freezing families during the winter, is the son of one of our great congressmen, Joe Kennedy, and I think that makes an enormous amount of difference in terms of thinking what he means and what he meant to that country.

So, as much as there's going to be a lot said about Chavez going forward, I think it's worth noting that even though he had a lot of American enemies, including the government, the reality is that a lot of people saw his generosity in helping people who are suffering from not having warmth in the winter is something very important. So I wanted to at least mention that he's passed away yesterday due to cancer, 58 years old, young man that's been suffering with cancer and trying to get treated it in Cuba and other places the last several months and passed away.

"We" lost Chavez? What's this "we" stuff, professor? While we're on the subject, please accept my condolences. This must be a difficult time for you.

After 30 seconds of listening to Ogletree, I wondered if his compensation at Harvard isn't based on the word count of his lectures, regardless of content. The man really should take the time to make it shorter.

Only someone wholly in the tank of leftist politics could believe Chavez was motivated by altruism in providing discounted oil to Americans. A more plausible explanation was Chavez's desire to embarrass George W. Bush, a man he once likened to Satan, and to push American politics leftward.

In 2006, Mac Johnson wrote an article for Human Events titled "Chavez's CITGO is No Friend of America: How Venezuela's President Hijacked an 'American' Corporation." Here is Johnson's take on Chavez's alleged concern for the downtrodden in America --

One aim is to buy good publicity for class warrior Chavez by showing him aiding America's poor when American oil companies have not. The fact that the money for his program is coming out of the pockets of Venezuelans (per capita GDP $6,100) in order to pad the pockets of whiny Americans (per capita GDP $41,800) is somehow left out of the Robin-Hood-themed press releases. ...

Lastly, Chavez hopes to directly influence congressional policy and interferein American elections with the program, which was engineered in concert with (former) Democratic Rep. Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts and is administered (in part) through Citizens Energy, a non-profit co-operative founded and run by former Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II.

By doling out Chavez's stolen oil at a 40 percent discount in liberal congressional districts and allowing the incumbent representatives to take credit for it, Chavez, I believe, seeks to alter the makeup of Congress and put Delahunt and other compromised congressmen in debt to him. He has, essentially, turned pork-barrel politics into oil-barrel politics and is buying votes for his sympathizers with a new brand of imported pork.

For many years Citizens Energy has run commercials in Massachusetts touting its low-cost heating oil program for the poor. The commercials invariably feature Joe Kennedy himself, shown here actually delivering the oil.

The ads have spread the word about the program, but they've served other purposes as well. Back in 1997, the Boston Globe reported that Michael Kennedy, Joe Kennedy's younger brother, received $688,782 compensation to run Citizens Energy in 1993, roughly $620,000 in 1992 and more than $500,000 in 1991. The damaging revelations came while Michael Kennedy was denying that he'd had sexual relations with an underage babysitter. Kennedy died in a ski accident in Aspen late that year.

These ubiquitous commercials (I live in Massachusetts and speak from experience) have also succeeded in keeping Joe Kennedy in the public eye. Kennedy left Congress in 1999 after 12 years in the House, damaged by the scandals involving brother Michael, an unflattering book written by his former wife, and having passed on an expected run for governor in 1998.

The ads have popped up ever since, reappearing with the frost, and helped elect another Kennedy to Congress last year -- Joe Kennedy's son and namesake, Joseph P. Kennedy III, who won a seat in the House. Will the younger Kennedy follow the example of elders long dead before he was born, John and Robert Kennedy, who bitterly opposed another leftist Latin-American dictator, Fidel Castro -- or the example of his father in cozying up to one?

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts