Chávez’s Message on Crime: Don’t Think of an Elephant

"It is not true that Venezuela is one of the most dangerous countries in the world!" That’s the best the Fat Man could come up with on crime in his Cadena today.

Did he cite any studies or statistics to back his view? No. Did he provide any argument to buttress it? No. Did he set out a positive program of action to combat crime? No. Did he, in fact, do anything beyond adding the words "it is not true that…" to a standard, well-established opposition talking point? No.

That was it. That was the entirety of his rebuttal. "It is not true that…"

The one supporting statement he could marshall is that the evil "escualidos" are saying it’s true that Venezuela is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, ergo it must be false.

He then went on to elaborate on some of the things he wouldn’t do to fight crime, such as get tough on it. Because that’s what the old regime used to do, ensnaring a lot of perfectly decent poor folks in redadas and such. 

Folks, Chávez has lost any semblance of control over the framing of the Crime debate. He can’t seem to address it without bringing to mind precisely the frame his opponents have chosen – unwittingly reinforcing our message in the process. Every time he talks about crime, he digs himself deeper into a hole. 

With no positive, programmatic message of his own to offer at all, his rebuttals amount to free media for us.


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