Sean Penn is a little agitated about all the abuse President Obama is taking for shaking hands with Hugo Chavez. It's nothing but the "posturing of our nation's most bitter and humanly impotent voices," he writes in the Huffington Post. Obama should have been tougher goes the refrain from Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, and others. "All wimps think playing a tough guy is done in one-note coldness," he writes. As for Penn, "I applaud an American president who's tough enough—to smile."
Penn considers Chavez a personal friend—"a warm and friendly man with a robust sense of humor (who daily risks his own life for his country in ways Dick Cheney could never imagine)." Obama's move was the smart way to deal with him, despite the critics' assertions. "The Cheneys, down to the O'Reillys and Hannitys and Limbaughs, effectively hate the principles upon which we were founded," adds Penn. "They are among the greatest cowards in all of American history."