Chávez shoots at an open goal, scores

Quico says: Noting that “sovereignty” starts from the bottom up, Chávez today challenged the opposition to follow PSUV’s lead and hold internal elections for important party posts. For once, the guy has it exactly right, calling the oppo leadership on its simply inexcusable paralysis on the issue of primaries.

In fact, one of the frustrations of the endless opposition debate on how to choose its candidates for next year’s parliamentary election its the way it tees Chávez up for this kind of attack, which is exceptional only in the sense of being totally justified.

Come to think of it, it’s something of a novelty to hear Chávez slamming us for something that’s real rather than a paranoid delusion. Odd feeling, actually. But the oppo’s never-ending bickering on the issue leaves him shooting at an open goal.

Of course, his criticism is not without its ironies: PSUV may be holding internal elections for delegates for its upcoming party congress, but nobody could be under any illusion that the delegates elected will have any substantive say over the way the party (or the country) are run. Jefe es jefe, y’know. It’s easy enough to guess that the moment any of the delegates goes rogue and issues any kind of substantive criticism of the hyperleader is the moment Disip discovers his previously unnoticed paramilitary connections, or the contraloria dusts off some corruption allegation or other hanging over him.

In PSUV, what party members ultimately compete for when they stand for election is the right to agree with Chávez from a better spot on the tarima.

And yet, it’s also easy to guess that if there’s one thing Chávez fears is the kind of reinvigorated, relegitimized opposition that could only imaginably emerge out of primaries. In a wacky, reverse-double-dare kind of way, you could see his attack today as a ploy to prevent opposition primaries. After all, nothing delegitimizes an idea more effectively among antichavistas than presidential support. How long can it be until anyone on our side who calls for primaries is slammed as a collaborator who “backs Chávez’s position” on the issue?

Sneaky SOB, he is…