by Arthur Shaw

In the ongoing presidential races in the USA and Venezuela, we see in both instances an emerging paradox between the original and the copy.

In the USA, the GOP presidential primaries pose the question of which one of the candidates is the original reactionary and which ones are copies. Each of the GOP candidates declares himself or herself to be the original reactionary and each claims all of her or his opponents are phonies or copies.

In the USA, it is possible that all four of the remaining GOP candidates … Santorum, Paul, Romney, and Gingrich … are original reactionaries.

The paradox between the original reactionary and the copycat will likely emerge in the general election between Obama and whoever is his GOP opponent.

Many US liberals suspect Obama to be at least a copycat reactionary and some liberals believe Obama is a lot worse than a copycat. These suspicions that Obama is a reactionary copy may significantly influence the liberal and independent turnout for Obama in 2012, as these suspicions influenced the 2010 turnout in the legislative elections.

To further split the reactionary sector of the US electorate, Obama may suggest through super-PACs that he is the original reactionary because he can use his undeserved credibility as a liberal to sell reactionary programs and ideas to liberal and independent forces who will likely resist more forcefully the same programs and ideas if they were presented by flaming reactionaries. This possibility has not been overlooked by many outlets of the bourgeois media in the USA, which are slobbering over super-PAC funds.

Whether Obama comes off as reactionary copy or original or as a liberal copy, he may face a serious problem in terms of the turnout of voters in November because many liberals and independents don’t trust him.

In Venezuela, the race between Pres. Hugo Chavez and reactionary Henrique Capriles Radonski is more tricky.

The question is not who is the original reactionary but rather who is the original revolutionary.

Yes, believe it or not, Capriles Radonski, a full blown, shameless, and flaming reactionary for over 10 years, now impersonates a revolutionary or, to use Capriles Radonski’s own preferred term, a “progressive.”

Can Capriles Radonski pull off this farce?

Clearly, Capriles Radonski, the bourgeois regime in Washington DC under Obama, and the world capitalist media smugly assume that Capriles can and will pull it off.

Let’s first look abstractly at the paradox from the point of view of the copy.

The copy can argue the original is good or bad.

If the copy, on one hand, argues the original is good, then the copy seems to strengthen its opponent, because the opponent is the original. If, on the other hand, the copy argues the original is bad, then the copy makes itself inexplicable. After all, if the original is bad, why copy it? So, in the end, the copy will either strengthen its opponent or render itself inexplicable.

Now, let’s look more concretely at the paradox, also from the point of view of the copy.

“Speaking at the graduation of 1,215 community doctors yesterday in Caracas, Chavez stated that Radonski ‘has some advisors that have told him [Radonski] not to confront me [Hugo Chavez], but that’s going to be impossible…’ ” a largely working class newspaper reported recently.

Will Capriles Radonski’s refusal to confront the original … that is, his refusal to confront Hugo Chavez … be seen by “some advisors” as Capriles Radonski’s affirmation that the original is good or bad or both or neither?

It seems to mean that “some advisors” of Capriles Radonski go for “neither.” But “some advisors” implies the existence of other advisors of Capriles Radonski who believe “neither” is nonsense.

It’s really too early in the race in Venezuela. So we must hesitate to guess boldly about things.

But most likely, Hugo Chavez is right when he hints “neither” is impossible because “neither ” negates the
presupposition for Capriles Radonski choosing to be a copy in the first place.

In other words, Chavez will compel the copy to say whether the original is good or bad.