The Paleopopulist Approach

Zulia Governor Manuel Rosales finally had a proper presidential campaign launch yesterday, giving a good old fashioned, nasal-toned populist speech to a crowd of fawning supporters at the Ateneo de Caracas.

His discourse is pleasingly focused on some Chavez weak points – particularly his wildly unpopular spending spree abroad – and largely ignores the kinds of abstract questions that rile up the Noticiero Digital crowd while leaving most voters cold. That’s smart politics. On the other hand, he said nothing at all about Chavez’s single most vulnerable issue: crime.

As for his style…well, I’m too much of a hoity-toity intellectual to openly say I like it. Charismatic he ain’t, but when he gets going, and in front of an appreciative crowd, he does a passable impression of an old-style, rabble-rousing adeco. At times, the guy sounds like he’s channeling Piñerúa. Could this kind of rhetoric do the trick?

Well, judge for yourself: the podcast of the speech is here.