The dry humping began Tuesday night at The Nation with NYU professor Greg Grandin’s paean to Hugo Chavez.

But it wasn’t all breathless swooning. Evidently, the Venezuelan tyrant had his flaws — like not being “authoritarian enough.”

He packed the courts, hounded the corporate media, legislated by decree and pretty much did away with any effective system of institutional checks or balances. But I’ll be perverse and argue that the biggest problem Venezuela faced during his rule was not that Chávez was authoritarian but that he wasn’t authoritarian enough. It wasn’t too much control that was the problem but too little.

And then, a rare admission:


I’m what they call a useful idiot when it comes to Hugo Chávez, if only because rank-and-file social organizations that to me seem worthy of support in Venezuela continued to support him until the end.

Useful idiot, indeed.

Er, don’t hold your breath on that one. The Nation called Grandin’s eulogy “epic and extremely smart.”


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