El Tigre and the opposition mononeuron

Over on the Spanish site, Raul Aular bucks Caracas Chronicles’s anti-dinosaur orthodoxy with a post making the case for Eduardo Fernández’s candidacy. It’s a neat piece of conventional wisdom-shredding, and makes a cogent case for bumping Fernández up from No Hoper to Second Tier status. Certainly, his campaign videos are rather more serious than some of his notional fellow-candidates’ (and do click on that link, it’s hysterical.)

Talking privately with Juan a few days back, he also made the point that, whatever else you want to say about him, Fernández is just about the only oppo candidate drawing clear contrasts between himself and his contenders. His pitch, centred on the need for an experienced hand and a fatherly figure to guide what will be a difficult transition, is probably the best somebody with his skill set could muster: but it’s also notable for going beyond the broken-record Progreso-Sin-Exclusiones mantra emanating in unison out of the younger cohort. He may not exactly be setting the intertubes on fire, but at least he does seem to have a rationale for his candidacy that’s not entirely ego-based.

With the oppo’s history of damaging divisions, it’s arguably a very good thing that most oppo candidates are fanatical about touting their commitment to unity and shy away from even oblique attacks on one another. In the Venezuelan context, there’s a lot to praise in that attitude.

The danger, though, is that with zero policy differences on display, the oppo primary dissolves into a straight up beauty contest. That may be what the moment demands, but you couldn’t say it’s particularly good for democracy, could you?

Which is all a way of saying something I never thought I’d say: all in all, I’m glad Eduardo Fernández is running.