Monday, September 15, 2008

Can a Beauty Queen Save Our Democracy?

Imagine a world without Hugo Chavez. That's right, imagine Venezuela *not* aligning with Iran, holding joint exercises in the Caribbean with Russia, supporting the Colombian terrorist group FARC, and fomenting revolutions in Bolivia and elsewhere in Latin America.

You know, it didn't have to be this way. In fact, during the 1998 Venezuelan presidential election, it looked for a brief shining moment that Irene Saez, a former beauty queen-turned mayor with a reputation for fighting corruption (sound familiar?), might actually win. As Wikipedia notes:

In the early 1990s Sáez served two terms as the mayor of Chacao, one of the five municipalities that make up Caracas, and gained notoriety by modernizing the municipal administration, raising its efficiency to an unprecedented (and still unsurpassed) level, at par with any modern private enterprise. . . . In 1997, she formed the Integrated Representation of New Hope (IRENE) party as a launching pad for her run in the 1998 elections. For a while, she shocked the Venezuelan political establishment when she led in opinion polls in the race for president and was the most popular politician in the early days of the race. She ran on a platform to end corruption, reducing bureaucracy and refinancing the public debt.

Had the Venezuelan people smiled on Irene Saez and not Chavez, the world would be a much better place today. So I see nothing wrong with mixing beauty and politics. In fact, unlike all the hysterical left-wing pundits out there, I am all for it.

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