Go bold, other voices

Scent of a winner

I don’t want to bring the US political process into the blog except to say this one, basic thing: Barack Obama’s victory yesterday – at a time when many odds were stacked up against him – tells me that people want authenticity. They want leaders who know where they are going, who have an idea of where they want to take us and do their darndest to take us there.

People care less and less these days about where that place might be. After all, not many people can understand the economic consequences of taking this or that position on the fiscal cliff (now there’s a metaphor for ya). I think that, ultimately, they appreciate having a position – setting a goal, and going for it.

It’s the vision thing.

In politics, particularly so when countries are in a crisis, it sometimes pays to ditch the pastels and go bold. Just ask Obama, Reagan, Thatcher, Chávez, or Putin. You couldn’t fault any of these folks for “triangulating,” for “compromising” on core issues.

I keep hoping that in Venezuela more and more voices will come out and ditch the wishy-washy, fresh-out-of-a-focus-group rhetoric (“las misiones hay que ampliarlas,” “ningún empleado público va a perder su trabajo”), and begin calling things by their name.

Someday, it may just pay to do so.

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  1. shit Obama won, that was a big surprise! How come an incumbent President, got reelected even with bad economic ratings during his first term. Seriously high unemployment rate and still reelected?

  2. You could have said the same thing about people wanting authenticity if Romney had won. He was also perceived as authentic (even more that Obama) by half of the country. That only reinforces your point and let me say it out loud: Capriles’ campaign was good, but he failed to hold strong views in almost everything (c’mon people go ahead and say and making leña del árbol caido). Great leaders have positions that are even radical by some (ask Betancourt, Thatcher, Reagan, Kennedy, even CAP). Capriles was too plain vanilla.

  3. Two of those leaders you mentioned are not, I would argue, bold voices. They are just opportunists with big, expensive, state-financed megaphones.

  4. “People care less and less these days about where that place might be” – is the only true and sad statement. You can describe Venezuela and chavismo with the same quote. What are you smoking? There is a price to pay to get to that “place”. A very high price that could take a generation to revert. Haven’t you learnt anyting from the chavezperience?

  5. De pana q ya este blog llego hasta donde tenia q llegar, después de ser los principales cheerleaders del cogollo de la campaña caprilista, después de pasar meses repitiendo la perfección de Capriles, ahora critican, tipo “desde la esquina”, lo q se hizo en la campaña, han llegado a criticar; incluso, lo q tanto han defendido en este blog, que capriles se disfrazo de un chavez light (caraaaaaaaaacha).
    Jesus… they are even endorsing pablo perez (didn’t you endorsed arias around primaries time). What a joke!
    this blog tough me at least something, not to pay attention to attention whores who lives outside Venezuela trying to portrate themselves as el casique q mas sabe… chile and japan isn’t it? you better rename it kyoto and iquiques chronicles, and star trashing theirs politician, you may be luckier on that. (sorry for the guy they added just to make this blog be more local)

  6. You want authenticity. Everyone wants authenticity. Politicians want to be authentic themselves and sometimes it doesn’t work very well. When authenticity does not work, poeple call it one word: improvisation. They also call it arrogance, or simply that the candidate thinks he/she can do everything on his/her own, that he/she holds the whole truth.

    It is a risky thing for a politician to do just what his gut says, to just be “authentic”. Our country works that way right now, by the way. It may work, it may very well be a disaster. A gut (“authentic”) feeling or ideology is not enough to run a campaign no less a country. When politics becomes less personalisitic and more professional (as it is in the U.S.), authenticity is partly manufactured and partly a product of who the candidate is and what he believes. Never just one of these elements.

    Where you inside the Obama campaign? Are you sure they did not use focus groups and such “unauthentic” methods to inform their communicational and organizational strategy?

    There are many factions within the opposition. Center, center left, center right, right right, left, left, wishy-washy, you name it. I hope Juan is advocating for everyone to be “authentic”, not only the “factions” he currently supports – the one that thinks we cannot defeat Chavez electorally + that we have to disband the misiones + among other positions. In the end all factions can be authentic, but political action cannot be wishy washy, – it cannot be a combination of all the different positions, even if some compromise has to be made. So one position of the many existent has to be embraced by the whole opposition movement. Inevitably there also has to be some compromise…

    Un poco de historia: This is what happened on February 12th: what Juan calls Capriles’s “wishy washism” won the primary. One of the many positions gained momentum and became “mainstream”. Back then, Capriles’ moderate no-nonsense let’s cut to the chase (leave the poltiics aside) problem-focused rhetoric and way of doing things was considered new, And “authentic”.

    In sum: “Authentic” is on the eyes of the beholder.

    I don’t see the Tea Party winning a great deal, and hell…. those are “authentic”! Would a candidate from inside the Tea Party movement have been able to win the U.S. election against Barack Obama?

    Good post though. Good food for thought, as is your newest on FP.

    • Personally, what I’d like to see is messages that don’t seem to be coming straight from focus groups because let’s face it, when it comes to populism, you cannot overchavez Chávez. JC is on the money when he mentions Capriles’ positions on the Misiones & public servants. There are many examples like this, just take a look at his TL and try to find a couple of actual proposals to see what I mean. There was a lot of cheerleading and “El tiempo de dios es perfecto” for the Maria Alejandra Lopez crowd but not much of my proposal is_______. Thing is, you’re right on the political spectrum he was representing, but you cannot please them all or you end up showing little content, which is what happened. When he took a risk, it paid (see Defense Minister announcement).

      Just to say it clear, it’s not about being authentic. Capriles was authentically pleasant and conciliatory. It’s about being more bold and taking chances.

      • Just to elaborate on the Defense Minister thing…I’m sure some people from the coalition were not happy with the announcement (“un militar chavista? no puede habe nadie más corrupto!”) but at the end of the day by taking the initiative and announcing his position he showed leadership, which is different than the please-them-all attempt that he communicated for most of the campaign.

    • Thanks Isabella. I agree with most of what you say, except on one thing: “I hope Juan is advocating for everyone to be “authentic”, not only the “factions” he currently supports – the one that thinks we cannot defeat Chavez electorally + that we have to disband the misiones + among other positions.”

      I don’t know which faction that would be, but right now I’m more focused on ideas and not so much on people. There is nobody in the opposition right now saying the things I think need to be said. And, furthermore, I don’t want to disband the misiones, but more on that later!

  7. Fiscal cliff is a funny phrase. it does not mean what you would think it means when you hear it. The name suggests the economy is in danger of falling off a cliff’s edge and into the void. In reality what it means is that the economy is about to crash into a massive brick wall. The fiscal deficit would actually shrink if the threat represented by the “fiscal cliff” is not averted. This is supposed to be bad because the economy has not fully recovered yet. Presumably this shouldn’t worry so much all those that continually assert their distrust of Keynesian principles, however those same persons are the ones now bickering passionately about the fiscal cliff.

  8. JCN, if you haven’t seen the movie Power, with Richard Gere, I suggest you try to, then compare and contrast with The Candidate, with Robert Redford. It’s your theme.

  9. Authenticity is actually a very interesting subject from a personal and moral perspective. I think of Obama as authentic because he is to a high degree self-created and self-aware (some would say too self aware). Chavez, on the other hand, is not authentic, and this is reflected in his lack of self-awareness. He does not see, nor does he understand, the thing that he is. This is a problem of narcissists. It means he is fundamentally the creature or symptom of social, economic and historical forces rather than a shaper of those forces, or an “authentic” person. It also means that he cannot change.

    Capriles is authentic in the same way Obama is authentic. That has nothing to do with their political perspectives. It has more to do with how they are as people and as leaders.

    (Sartre spent at lot of ink writing about this idea of authenticity and there’s a great little riff on what he was talking about on this Stanford site that nobody I imagine will ever read. But authenticity as a moral concept is an interesting way to understand these leaders, and the conclusions can be counter-intuitive.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sartre/ )

  10. Some points, FDR got re-elected with doulbe digit un-employment and the US still in a depression ( a president who got elected four times and would still be if he was alive, kind of like President Chavez will, how ever long he makes it) people perceptions of them are strong even if incorrect in some ways.

    I remember some on this site thought both Chavez and Obama would lose and glowing with the prospects, told them then they were wrong ( I voted for a 3rd Party candidate in the States) but I guess you all did not read the El Universal article on Venezuelans voting for Obama because of perceptions.

    So here we stand, people perceptions of the right wing oppo’s in Venezuela is not caring of the masses workers and the poor and reproducting the same system of the past.

    Now those of us on the Left against the counter-revolution, bureaucracy and the Boli-bourgeois and who represent the aspirations the oppress are going to win the day because we are mild in manner and bold in matter and history and the decay of capitalism we prove our point.
    Forward to real socialism


  11. I believe Capriles had a message: Reconciliation. There were two problems with it, though. First, the most radical MUD fraction was still out there and its beligerance watered down any effort to bring out the message. Second, the message was probably not that relevant for your common chavista/low income voter. Reconciliation is a nice message when you are on the losing side of conflict, but this problem mostly affects opposition voters, e.g. Lista Tascon. That’s not the case for chavistas.

    Low income voters are more concerned about discrimination based on social background, and that’s something that Chavez exploit very efficiently with the class warfare discourse and his populist manipulation of those who feel disenfranchised and marginalized.

    As for Capriles, well. I have said this early: Capriles was not an ideal candidate, he was just the least worst option. Period. He seems to be a very efficient manager, but he is hardly a statesman. When it comes to political discourse Capriles is an empty suit. I wonder if he had ever read something besides what was mandatory at the university. Probably the same goes for most of the political elite in Venezuela, including Esteban.

    As for the credibility, I have already said this before. A nice kid from eastside Caracas is hardly a pallatable choice for your regular westside caraqueño, much less someone in the countryside. Furthermore, he never explained how he’d improve on Chavez social programs. Not a single word. In the end, he looked like a light, less credible version of Chavez, not his own man.

  12. Sorry Juan but “People care less and less these days about where that place might be” I find that phrase arrogant and misled. In Venezuela, we don’t agree with it, but the majority of people want a place where there is even a small chance that they will get stuff and will get to participate in the oil riches that for much time were only for the elite.
    As per the states, even worse comment, actually it was more that people knew where they DON’T want to go. They don’t want a place where you can go bankrupt if you get sick (only 25% of voters want to repeal the healthcare law), they don’t want a place where the religious views of some infringe in the rights of others (over 50% of the voters supports gay marriage), they don’t want a place where science is ignored (no, there is not a mechanism to avoid getting pregnant if you were raped) and rape is a gift from god (all the senators that made those comments lost even in very republican areas). They don’t want a place where being Hispanic makes you a suspect automatically (71% of Hispanics voted for Obama).
    What resonated from me about this election and Venezuela was the issue of polling, the media kept saying it was neck and neck but the polls were telling a different story, and republicans decided to not believe the polls. They would only believe the polls that favored them. In our case the big, big differences among polls made it harder, but I think we also stayed in a bubble and didn’t credit the polls and ignored the ground game on the other side that proves again is a basic of elections, get out the vote initiatives are key to win. That’s the only similitude I see with us.
    For the rest, I am happy at least here the crazies didn’t win… And I am happy Adelson spent all those millions and NONE of his candidates won and I am sad this country spent 6 billion dollars in an election instead of using that money to help people in need or invest in something that will generate jobs.

    • The reason I despise the Democratic party in the US is the same reason I despise the Republican.Wild accusations totally not based in fact.False propaganda to win elections.

      Obamacare is not socialized medicine, and Obama has been fairly moderate on many issues.
      The Republicans are not racist but they are practical and know you cannot kowtow to
      minorities to the point where you are ruining the majority.

      I don’t expect many to understand this here, because most are just duped by the propaganda from the side they like just like most people in the world.

      Without the ability to see 2 sides to the coin, any semblance of an objective conversation is impossible.

      • Obamacare is not socialized medicine – YET!. It is the beginning of it. When insurers and companies cannot longer compete with the government they will have to concede. Then we will start having the funny rules they have in Canada and Europe to “preserve cost”: 3-months waiting to get a life saving operation; statistical analysis will determine if you get a procedure or not; if you are too old you may not qualify for a given treatment. The freedom of personal choice will be lost and gone forever.

        • I don’t have sufficient authority to discuss the issue of socialized medicine in Canada, vis-à-vis the current health care praxis in the US. But I’ll try to narrow the vague generalities put forth, so far.

          If you are in emergency, in a Cdn hospital, AND you need a life-saving operation, you do not wait 3 months.
          If you need an organ to survive, you have to wait your turn on the list, in both countries.
          If you are a Vzlan, paying for private hospitalization in the US, and you need an organ to survive (heart), you will automatically be on the bottom of the list. US citizens will always get preferential treatment. As a Vzlan, you may not survive the wait. (This happened to a third cousin of mine, rip, as he waited for a heart in Boston’s Children’s Hospital.)
          The use of statistical analysis to determine whether a patient gets a procedure or not, is what’s called, in the US, your local HMO.
          Your age, say as a 95-year old, who experiences angina (and could be a good candidate for a stent), is not restrictive on age, but depends on common sense, a decision reached by both doctor and patient, or patient’s family. (This happened recently to my mother, in Canada.)

          And no, freedom of personal choice is not as “lost and gone forever” as you make it out to be.

          • All three examples cited happened to friends in Canada and Europe. The first one was averted by paying out of pocket and traveling to the USA to get immediate attention (wiping out lifetime savings). Organ donation is in a different class. You are actually dependent on another human being. I had a father with Crohn’s disease in vzla and he couldn’t find the only medication that could treat it, because the government deemed it was not a common desease; hence, restricted the importation of the medicine. I had to buy the medication in the USA and FedEx it at my own expense. Don’t tell that the freedom of choice is not lost in this case; it is. You don’t knwo until you live through it.

          • “You don’t knwo until you live through it.”
            I live in Canada, have lived in the US, have lived in Vzla. You’ll have to be a little more specific when you make generalities about (Cdn health care’s) “funny rules”, statistical analyses, and age-determining health insurance decisions.

          • That’s some productive response. So, fling out the odd anecdote, flimsily supported, to make a generic statement about a system, with which you have no experience.

          • Need specifics? Go to any hospital parking lot in any USA city near the border with Canada and you will invariably see many Canadian license plates. If the free system is so great in Canada why do they come here?

          • Fidelio: I lived and worked in the US for 10 years, not as long as I lived in Venezuela, nor in Canada. I periodically cross the border from Ontario, but never for health care. Not that the health care in this province (much of it from US-educated medical doctors) has been stellar. Then again, this depends on the doctor. I had the misfortune of being in the wrong hands, for about a decade. But this could have happened anywhere, even in the US. Realizing this is a matter of perspective and experience.

            While there are some Cdns who go to the US for treatment, these cases are far fewer than you try to make them out to be. Certainly not as many as the US folks who buy pharmaceuticals from Canadian online sites, at one time, during the last decade, amounting to 1 billion dollars worth. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2009/02/27/f-onlinedrugs.html

            You have been very coy about details, both of your present domicile and those of the folks whose medical experiences you try to compare with the US system.

            As for the sea of Canadian license plates in US hospital parking lots, as you try to paint the picture, I will look for this, the next time I cross. My instinct tells me that you are grossly exaggerating, and that you cannot be depended on for rational, realistic, and accurate debate.

          • P.S. I had forgotten (a good thing) about two surgeries I had in 1970 and 1971, while I lived in the US. The small-town physician, who suspected a dire scenario, referred me to an ortho surgeon in a large city hospital that did not have the best reputation (in the medical trade, for as I’m sure you’re not aware, some hospitals have more medical malpractice records than others). Fortunately, I had access to insider information, and so the referring physician’s recommendation was nixed, in favour of a better route. Yes, even in ‘el imperio’, medical hands may not be optimum, all the time.
            Btw, in Canada, patients can also ask for second or a third opinion. Not that your propaganda would ever tell you that.

        • Fidelio,

          I understand your concerns, and they just might be real.I know nothing about Canadian healthcare but comparing our US system to my husband’s brothers system in England, I would certainly prefer the US system, warts and all.But that is just a matter of values.

          However, whether or not Insurance companies can or cannot compete with government insurance remains to be seen.Unfortunately nobody understands Obamacare as it will apply.I would imagine that knowing the US as I do, there will be plenty of takers for a superior private insurance out there.We will always have a choice.The people here are not that collective in mentality and simply prefer a certain freedom of choice, besides our economy depends on it.If the day comes when most people do not, you will see some pretty strong protests.I do not envision it.

          • I agree a lot has to happen before we get there, but that is certainly the push. The history of medicaid/medicare tell us a lot. What was originally intended for the poor is now an uncontrollable mess.
            I have been in the State 32 years and a lot has changed over the years. I work for the largest health care insurance in the midwest and I can tell you that what I see from the inside is not pretty. They are redoubling efforts to become competitive with the government because otherwise members (companies) will drop their employees from private coverage. My fear is that in time (15-20 or more years) Obamacare will be the defacto insurance standard, and when that happens there is no turning back.

    • Your labeling people who think differently than you as “crazies” is sad. It is uncharitable, demeaning, intolerant, sectarian, and it doesn’t represent you well, Moraima.

      • I understood Moraima’s reference to “crazies” as Tea Partiers, whose blind devotion, and limited capacity for reflection and thoughtful analysis, as well as shrill mouth-offs render them, well, let’s just say, not very balanced.

        In the end, I think Romney made some key mistakes, early on, which contributed to his weaker performance than would have been the case. Frankly, I thought that his gaining endorsement from Donald Trump was the kiss of death. But what do I know.

          • Syd is right I was talking about the candidates Adelson supported. I don’t mean all republicans, not even all Tea Parties. I might disagree with their views but a lot of them are smart reasonable people. But those candidates on TV saying that the earth was created when the bible says it was, the whole rape/abortion stupid comments and of course Trump, yes, they are NUTS. And they have made their party lose ground and also forced their candidate to pivot so much to the right that he no longer resembled anything at all. Those I can and will keep calling crazies the same way Lina Ron was crazy.
            I hope you don’t feel I was including you on the crazy camp, I might disagree with you on policy issues but I know you are not crazy 🙂

      • And by the way Juan, of all my comments you only reacted to the fact that I used the word crazy once when refering to Adelson and his combo of losing looneys?

        • Moraima,

          First off, thanks for your measured response to my out-of-line comment. I really appreciate it, and I apologize at the same time. I think what’s frustrating (ojo, I would not have voted for Romney, btw – can’t stand the man) for me, as an observer of the democratic process, is that Akin and the other douche somehow defined a big segment of the population. I think that’s unfair.

          For example, it’s no secret that I’m pro-life. Therefore, when people talk about “the crazies” I immediately think that’s unfair, because … why should I be labeled as crazy just because of my position on abortion?

          I do think that there was a concerted effort by the Obama campaign to label Romney as a radical, right-wing, rape-is-a-gift-from-God, plutocratic, chauvinistic, war-on-women, immigrant-hating looney … and good for them, because that’s what the campaign is about, to label the other side in the worst manner possible. But let’s be reasonable and agree that, now that the campaign is over, there are valid arguments on all sides of the (many) aisles: on the pro-life and the pro-choice side; on the fiscal conservative side (a la Tea Party) and on the pro-stimulus side (a La Krugman), etc. It’s not “the sanes vs. the crazies”. And Romney may not have been a good choice for President, but he’s not a loon…

          • No worries, when we care about things we get passionate, I was thinking there needs to be a US Chronicles, the media is so polarized that is so difficult to have a reasonable conversation anywhere. As per Akin and other, if the GOP kicked them out they would not define anything, but they refuse to do it and they kept their support for fear of the extremist. The democrats didn’t have to find skeletons, the GOP gave them things in a silver plate, including that recorded speech about the 47%.

            I know you are pro-choice and I can understand that position completely not only for religious reasons, I am not big in organized religion but I consider there is divinity on earth and the process of like is short of miraculous. So, to decide if you want to feel part of the crazies or not, ask yourself, would you go and harass women in abortion clinics as your way to defend your position? Or would you try to make it that women have more options and education so there are less undesired pregnancies, there is a better adoption process, there is help for desperate women? I have a feeling the second would seem more reasonable to you and still is according to your principles. I wish the democratic party would do that instead of fixating on the right to choose, the reality is that if a very small percentage of women can take an abortion lightly, I know of the incredible price on psicological issues some women have paid for making that choice so I don’t think it’s black and white. And the same with many other social issues.
            That’s I think the introspection that GOP needs to have, someone said on this the NYT, “there has to be more compassion” and understanding that not everyone who is down on their luck is a lazy 47’er% that doesn’t want to work. And they need to kick the nuts out, disown Trump, reject Akin and so on. Will they do it this time? I don’t think so, but soon demographics will force their hand or they will become irrelevant.

    • Thank you, moraimag, for your observations, with examples, to more fully explain the panorama. Your comment and that of pitiyanqui’s are recent favourites.

      In contrast, below is one of those silly, flippant “analyses” that made its way into my inbox.

      Some random analysis of the election results from one of our resident historians in LA…

      The undecided swing state single females between the ages of 24-30 finally made a decision and it was the right one. Thanks, ladies! Now, I don’t to have live up to my promise and emigrate to Canada. (But I’m pretty sure Rush Limbaugh is on the hook for a move to Costa Rica, though)

      This morning finds Michelle Bachmann is still in (barely), Karl Rove in denial, the wrestler lady couldn’t buy a senate seat, Donald Trump (remember when Trump was the GOP front runner? GEEZ!) demonstrating publicly that he IS certifiably insane AND a map of solid red Confederate States proving for the most part the south has never fully recovered from the Civil War.

      It appears We, the People still control our own destiny and thankfully value sanity over sound bites.

  13. There are ‘no’ bold voices coming out of Washington D.C. or Caracas.

    Alexis de Tocqueville got it right over two hundred years ago. The Nostrodamus of his age.

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

      • de Tocqueville will be relevant to the end of time… But on the other side, I have never heard the 1 percenters and plutocrats that Romney so pandered to complain about public expenditures when the US got itself into war after war for their ample profit. A big chunk of the current US debt comes from debt incurred to finance Iraq part II and the war in Afghanistan.

  14. Barack Obama’s victory yesterday – at a time when many odds were stacked up against him

    Odds against? According to whom? I followed Nate Silver’s blog who always had Obama comfortably re-elected (his probability of being re-elected never dipped below 60%)

  15. Obamacare or Romneycare is almost the same thing Romney did when he was a state governor and was first put forward right wing thinktank Heritage Foundation which had a very similar plan in the 1980’s.

    “Obamacare is nothing more
    than a huge bailout for another failing industry — the health insurance
    industry. No health insurer could continue to raise premiums at the
    rate of two to three times inflation, as they have done for at least a
    decade. No health insurer could continue to pay 200 million dollar plus
    bonuses to top executives, as they have done repeatedly. No health
    insurer could continue to restrict Americans’ access to decent health
    care, in effect creating slow and silent ‘death panels.’ No health
    insurer could do those things and survive. But with the Obamacare act
    now firmly in place, health insurers will see a HUGE multibillion dollar
    windfall in the form of 40 million or more new health insurance
    customers whose premiums are paid largely by government subsidies”.

    Dr. Clark Newhall MD JD is Executive director of Health Justice

  16. Well, I do hope those other voices get their act together. So far, the only “classical” liberals in Venezuela are neither organised nor coherent.

    They seem “authentic”, mind you…

    Given that: Juan, do you think that Capriles was a phony or a moderate? There is a big difference…

    • Exactly. There can be a great deal of authenticity, vehemence and conviction in being a moderate. What I am not understanding from Juan is that he is looking for non-moderates within the opposition that are also authentic in what they believe and communicate,
      rather than for “authentic” moderates, or any kind of moderates at all, because implies having to compromise ideals or beliefs. But maybe I got it wrong…

      • Anyone who, at this stage, really believes that no public employees should be fired, or that the State is perfectly fine owning steel mills and banks and hotels, or that the Defense Minister should be someone from the active military, or that Mercal is good social policy, is automatically unfit to be President in my book.

        I’m sorry folks, but I’m going to be vehement on this from now on.

        • I for one considered the same thing that JCN is saying, I can no stand the socialist paquetazo, the opposition should not be offering a political platform that for all intends and purpose became a mild version of chavismo platform. I fear that the opposition is now stuck with this kind of political platform for the years to come.

          As JCN said, we need people that thinks differently, that have a plan, a vision of a new Venezuela, that comes from a real visionary and not from a political strategy to win a presidential election. For a moment, I though that the MUD could have filled that space in Venezuela, but they end up creating a Chimera, made of litle pieces of everyone involved.

          We need a plan, very different from a “mild chavismo” plan and stick to it!!!

        • Who says you can’t be and why be sorry about that? But were those the main themes of the campaign? Had HCR won despite those statements, would he had been unfit? He made many of those statements -or something similar to those statements- on his gubernatorial run back in 2008 and in the primaries campaign. Was he a phony back then?

          As for the debate between “moderation” and “authenticity”, I’m a bit at a loss: it seems to be there’s a divide within that very debate.

          I believe it has a twofold framing: either as a mean to describe political strategies, or to assign political ideologies.

          For some observers, a “true” opposition, as far as political strategy is concerned, should be more forceful in political issues, disregarding its actual power (be it social or political): protests, marches, and the like. It is a matter of being “hardline” in the face of moderation’s failure to win. To some, this meant that the moderate opposition did not win because we failed to secure the votes, to stop the government from abusing its resources, and from sitting idly by while the CNE made a fool of all of us (there are shades to this grey, of course: there are your Ledezmas and Arrias, and there are your Medinas and Ekvalls).

          But your posts are calling for ideological “authenticity”: which, if I understand, means that a true opposition cannot share anything with the current regime, and, since its main trait is to be socialist, then it should follow that the main current of the opposition needs to be liberal to be authentic. The moderate opposition, in a phony or self delusional way, believed they could have a watered-down Socialism (progressives, social justice, social democracy, whatnot), while people who spoke truth to power were sidelined from the debates and the leadership of the opposition, some of them even pushed aside to its unsavoury fringes. Apparently, Maria Corina Machado is working to gather support for a liberal party (there is a long history of tries: Alirio Ugarte, ¿Uslar Pietri?, Pedro Tinoco, Jorge Olavarría, José Antonio Abreu, Vladimir Gessen… I hope she has better luck; although a total implosion of Capriles in Miranda -her own main constituency- is the only way she could get a leg up… Some of the less mainstream liberals in Venezuela (Polesel, Mansueti) regard her as less than a liberal, because of her “capitalismo popular”).

          And yet, is this the case? The MUD’s program was not only a more liberal program than that of the PSUV: it was the most liberal program by a mainstream candidate since 1993. Of the MUD’s main parties, Poyecto Venezuela is a member of UPLA (the Latin American organisation that holds together conservative and center-right parties, like Chile’s RN or UDI); PJ is hardly socialist. And, in the Marxist segue, AD, UNT and COPEI are merely bourgeois oriented social-democratic parties (not a compliment).

          What does moderation mean, in Venezuela in any case? A liberal commitment to political pluralism and ideological toleration? Check. A belief in the power of reason and in the incremental power of peaceful political means (which include and privilege, but do not stop at, electioneering)? Check. A belief that private property and enterprise is not only legitimate but necessary? Check. A belief that there are some social needs and problems that need to be urgently tended to, and that such attention can be helped through proper technical means? Check. A belief that the State has an important role to play but that it has not to be overbearing or absolute? Check. A belief that political compromise can be reached, and that you cannot obliterate 55% of the country? Check.

          I still believe moderation, even forceful moderation, is the proper way to go: both as a matter of fact and ideological tradition, and as a matter of political realism. I understand you believe it does not matter: we’re unelectable anyway, so let’s speak our minds out. I’m also glad you are speaking of authenticity regarding economic policy (which can be rationally discussed and argued on its merits) and not some of the shadier things that loom in the blogosphere and Twitterzuela (racial epithets, geographical and class divisions, religious hatred, and so on…).

    • Capriles was far from being a moderate candidate. Nobody was going to confuse him for Angela Merkel circa 2007 (“Wir sind die Mitte!”) or what not. Truth is that Capriles never tried to sell himself as a moderate, but just a light version of chavista left-wing populism. That in spite of PJ being allegedly a center party. Furthermore, given that the MUD covers the whole political spectrum*, isn’t the middle point the logical conclusion to all this? In that sense, Capriles/PJ position might seem a bit phoney, I guess…

      * Yes, I know that a Venezuelan political landscape is lacking in right-wing parties, but still. Fiscal responsibility is sort of right-wingy jargon, and there was a lot of that during the campaign among the experts. IMO, a party capable of talking about fiscal responsibillity in layman’s terms without the hysterical cries would be nice for a change. More Arithmetic, less Fatalism. More propositions, less criticism.

    • I do believe that HCR made a visible effort to turn to the left and make himself more palatable to the ample Chavista demographic in Vzla. Let’s all remember that Primero Justicia was a fiscally conservative, business-oriented party back in the day, and first impressions go a loooooong way in politics, ask Teodoro Petkoff.

      I do not believe he was lying up front when he spoke about the need to keep the misiones, but I do think he said those things mostly as a defensive strategy to fight off the “agenda oculta” campaign and appeal to the disgruntled Chavista vote… and defense alone doesn’t win games or elections, people. He did, as Juan aptly said, sound more than a bit focus-groupy when speaking about social issues.

  17. “[…]message of hard work, achievement, limited government and the rule of law falls on deaf ears with a majority of the presidential electorate, which has lost its way culturally, is economically unsophisticated and lacks an understanding of constitutional principles. It is a nice way of saying the presidential electorate isn’t capable of rational self-government.”


    • There are intelligent, relatable republicans: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bloomberg, Rice, Petraeus, that ex ambassador for China who got zero support, come to mind. Instead, the contenders featured Bachmann, Cain, Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, and always, Trump (a contender unto himself). So the problem with the republican party not getting their candidate elected isn’t that the electorate is lazy and looking for easy fixes. IMHO. Romney was the best of a substandard, crazy and mediocre bunch. The tactic of putting a pliable no-nothing in the White House worked once, and it will not work again, apparently.

  18. You sound like the Republicans in USA.
    How do you expect to win an election saying from day 1 that you will eliminate misiones?
    How do you expect to win an election saying from day 1 that there are too many public employees?
    This is the equivalent of a Republican sayng what they said about latinos and then getting the results they got with latinos.
    You can have a better plan but you must be able to trasnmit it.
    I do not see the plan. I do not see the transmitter.
    We are waiting for an absurd government to collapse (If and when) and then pick up the broken glass.
    There are not 6.500.000 “oligarcs” in Venezuela but opposition needs to be able to win votes from chavistas. That is easier said than done as elections show.
    If I had the answers I woul be a candidate 🙂 .

    • Who said anything about eliminating misiones?

      You sound like the Democrats – hearing all noise and unable to process content.

    • “How do you expect to win an election saying from day 1 that you will eliminate misiones”

      Regardless, in the end people will realize that misiones will not be longer viable, and the state can not continue funding this kind of idiotic social welfare.

      Just wait when the oil prices start to plummet.

      And when that happens, opposition better be ready with a plan, rather than letting the chavismo improvise and take over again.


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