The power grab mantra

One of the administration opposition’s current assertions is that the President is grabbing power and taking over the US government to become a dictator. There is a current interesting process in Venezuela to serve as a comparison and contrast in evaluating these assertions. Charles Bird has a good summary in The Hugo Chavez Slow-Motion Communist Revolution.

But rather than gracias [for oil trade], the sentiments Chavez expresses towards the United States are closer to vete a cingar. Chavez’s rhetoric is virtually indistinguishable from Castro’s, and if it just stayed there, Chavez would be just another loudmouth ingrate. And an entertaining one at that, since he apparently likes to parade American nutters through Caracas such as Harry Belafonte and Cindy Sheehan, giving them media platforms to bash Bush. But Chavez doesn’t stop just there.

In 1992, Chavez’s attempted a military coup d’etat and failed. Opting for Plan B, he was elected president in December 1998 and has since wrought his revolution by changing the system from within. There’s nothing wrong with implementing social reforms and other good works, and Venezuela definitely needed more than a few. The problem is how Chavez has been doing it, which is by eroding his country’s democratic institutions, using dollops of populism and largesse and other means to get his way.

What is interesting is that the dictator impulse seems to be highly correlated with communism and socialism. This means greater government control, permits, price controls, taxes, media supervision, personalization and vilification of an enemy, and grand plans for ‘the people.’ Venezuela makes for an interesting standard as a reference for the allegations of the administration’s opposition.

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