President Obama is no el Presidente Chávez. It may be extreme to suggest that if reelected and given Democrat majorities in both houses of the Congress he might morph in that direction. However, the U.S. Constitution seems of little importance to him when it gets in his way. Having Venezuela’s Constitution amended to suit his purposes has been easier for Chávez although he also ignores it when convenient. Amending the U.S. Constitution is a difficult task requiring a substantial consensus. Simply ignoring it when it suits President Obama’s purposes has been much easier.
Chávez proceeded slowly at first to change Venezuela. Maybe he had heard the story of the frog put into a pleasantly warm but slowly heating pot of water. The frog failed to realize until too late that he was being boiled for dinner. Chávez had turned up the heat slowly at first, until the frog became unable to jump out of the pot. President Obama, flush with victory and perhaps not having heard the frog story, turned up the heat quickly at first. As a result, starting in January of last year, President Obama’s dinner was delayed by an uncooperative House of Representatives. The frog survived for a while longer. If reelected and given a compliant Congress, he seems likely to turn the heat. We are the frog.
This long article looks at the prospects and suggests a number of worrisome parallels.