26 September 2007

Political silence... of the graveyard?

Did you notice there's almost no political campaigning going on? On TV and the radio, I mean. You see posters and such, and the president appears here and there to make those awful speeches he's so fond of, but today's exactly one month to campaign ban and only a few very short ads are airing. Nothing from the Most Righteous Blonde, nothing from the Castaway Minister, not a peep from One-Week President's brother, just a few seconds of the Teacher Killer saying he's "100% ready". And nothing from the Iron Fi(r)st Lady, or, as they call her in certain circles, Kristina.

That's sad and refreshing at the same time. Refreshing, because nobody likes political ads. Sad, because it's rather clear that not one of those who may end up ruling the country has anything to say that can convince us that they're not more of the same. Natural, you might say, because almost everybody knows Kristina will win, and because the government has all the money and the resources for the campaign and the opposition has none. And quite possibly also because politicians know, deep down, that all Argentinians have already decided whether they'll vote for Cristina Kirchner or against her.

I mean, really, how many people do you think will vote for anybody? Cristina relies on the robber barons of the Conurbano (Greater Buenos Aires) to gather votes for her, and the rest of Buenos Aires Province is sure to follow, especially with wishy-washy Daniel Scioli campaigning for governor. Half of Buenos Aires City will vote for her as well. City + metro area + province = 40% of the country's total vote count. Add the places where opportunistically Kirchnerist Peronist caudillos cling to power — mostly poor and depopulated places, but many anyway. Among the larger provinces, Córdoba might or might not react to the scandalous fraud perpetrated in the last election, but then remember that the two candidates are Peronists, both backed by Kirchner until months ago. Mendoza's governor is Cristina's vice president candidate. Entre Ríos is still safely Peronist.

The question might be Santa Fe. Governor elect Binner's right hand is Rubén Giustiniani, vice president candidate of Elisa "Lilita" Carrió. Giustiniani has about the charisma of a park bench, and Lilita really needs to check her dopamine level. But they chose to launch their campaign in Rosario, now viewed as the bastion of moderate progressive political thought. Both Rosario and Buenos Aires are large cities where candidates on a platform of moderation and non-ideological urban management ("I come to solve your problems with transparency and involvement"), but Buenos Aires is more like the bastion of moderate conservatism right now, with the Spoiled Brat and the Iron Nun ready to take office. So Carrió came to Rosario and seemed quite certain that she'll be the next president, and if it were for Rosario, I'd be tempted to agree.

I can tell you that Carrió is not a president I'd like to have. She's unpredictable and she has this tendency to alienate her allies (which amounts to suicide here). On top of that she's a Catholic fanatic. Giustiniani is a mystery to me. He's a well-trained Socialist Senator and seems to be OK, but what he might do next to Lilita is difficult to imagine. Lilita can be extremely good at speaking — hearing her the other night I almost believed for a second that she could actually turn the election and bury the Kirchners and their troupe of adept bootlickers. Then I remembered — this is not Europe. A coalition of moderate socialists, social-democrats and Christian progressives can win an election but it can't rule for long. Not with millions of poor people surrounding the capital, ready to be roused by the barons of old Peronism, which have brought down two presidents already since 1983.

So an empty envelope awaits me in the voting room, a month from now... unless somebody convinces me otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. I’ve conducted on informal poll of taxi drivers in BsAs since Kristina announced her candidacy. No a single driver wanted her to become president, but most seemed happy to have her remain as a Senator. But perhaps I asked the wrong question – instead I should have asked who they intended to vote for. It seems that Kristina’s election might become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    It’s striking that this presidential election seems to be all about personality rather than policy. Apart from promising a better life for everyone, what specific reforms are candidates proposing to implement?



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