Monday, December 3, 2007

Victory for Venezuelan democracy!

I am very happy this morning that Hugo Chavez's proposed socialist/authoritarian rewrites to the constitution were rejected by the electorate, that Chavez is accepting the results, and, mostly, that a lot of chavistas were savvy enough, "unpolarized" enough, to reject these reforms even though they continue to support Chavez. Democracy works; constitutional constraints on power hold; I'm enough of a politics geek to feel all warm and fuzzy about this kind of thing when it plays out in practice.

Key to this election were the NiNis and the moderate chavistas who still like the guy, but are beginning to worry about his more radical positions. (NiNis, from "neither with Chavez, nor with the opposition," are often described as "undecided voters" or "neutral," but that's not quite right. It's more like if you had to choose between George Bush and those weird neo-Marxist ANSWER folks to run the country - both choices are so terrible that you might just abstain in disgust.)

When it came down to a vote, not on personages but on political principles, on "do you want your country to inch ever closer to a dictatorship?" many people were able to put aside their (well-founded) dislike of certain individuals in the opposition and their affection for Chavez, and vote on principle.

Mazel tov, Venezuela. It's a good day.

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