Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eating some MUDdy crow and offering proposals: memo to the MUD

Dear MUD members

Even though I have had many reservations as to your methods I must admit that you did better than I thought you were doing.  I think that in politics all is in the timing and still today I am concerned about that part.  But at least it is clear that you were able to deliver some positive results on a daunting task, even if accompanied with worrisome facts.  Let's today celebrate that in spite of some unclear details still to be settled you have managed to bring a list of unity candidates that, if not all in all inspiring, is at least more inspiring than what chavismo will deliver in a few days.

Yet, finding comfort in the mediocrity of the other side is not going to do it if you really want to win in September.  Remember, you need to win by a spread of at least 5% votes to compensate for the electoral built in advantage the CNE serves the PSUV.  Thus I take the liberty to repeat some advice offered before, maybe arrogantly I may concede but in good faith.

The first business is to publish within days a short campaign manifesto.  You can publish a gigantic laundry list if you want later one, but publish a ten points list or something like that.  That list should make it clear that you intend to reverse some excesses of Chavez while not upsetting everything.  Examples of what should be included, in no particular order:
  • amnesty law for political prisoners (should be your first principled item).
  • return to decentralization.  Announce that Consejos Comunales will remain but will work with Mayors and Governors, not with Caracas (do not worry, C.C.will be dead by themselves once people realize most of them run for the personal benefit of chavista local leaders).  Repeat that it does not make a difference whether a governor is chavista or not, s/he must work with C.C.  and not Caracas.
  • eviction of Faria from Caracas.  If you are not going to campaign against Faria lousy performance and unconstitutional nomination why will you bother campaigning in Caracas?  Make her an issue along all what Chavez did to take away decentralization.  In chavista states say that it will force the local governor to get to work once and for all instead of spending time at Chavez speeches (include the return of Ledezma as full mayor; trust me, it will allow you to take at least 4 seats in Libertador).
  • financial control and inquiry of where the money went (not telling what Chavez needs to do but making sure that his actions are accounted for, NiNi might like that a lot).
  • vote funds for jails and to improve them (at this point it is about the only thing you can do to improve the security problem until the private sector starts generating real jobs).  Offer jails to be run by a national independent board monitored by the Judicial Power and local authorities, not the central government or the national police of national guard. Or something similar but away from the government.
  • stop government take over of private property and offer to review the agrarian laws to increase food production (repeat incessantly that under Chavez we started importing more than half of our food, that there is no more "seguridad alimentaria" in such conditions).  use the scare card: 5 more years of a pro Chavez assembly and people will be with ration cards like in Cuba (Chavez is using a bevy of scare cards, why not use a couple of them yourselves?)
You get the point, it is easy to come up with stuff to catch people's imagination, stuff YOU CAN ACTUALLY DO!  But please, do not waste your time in promising to fix potholes, you cannot, people know that, just as people know that the only thing you can do once elected is force the executive to do what it was elected to do. Nothing will kill you faster than trying to out-promise Chavez or pretend that you will control Chavez by being nice with him: no one is going to believe it and you will be ridiculous.  We now better after ten years; what we want is for whatever is left to start working better.  We'll see what is next later.


    1. Anonymous3:54 PM

      I could not agree with you more, if we want to get the message accross be short and to the point, they are not making miracles there, there only must be some light at the end of the tunnel to get people motivated again to move

    2. Juan Cristobal5:36 PM

      That's the thing about low expectations - even doofuses like the MUD can surprise us!

    3. Juan:

      Criticize them all you want, call them doofuses (doofii?), but you must admit that no process is going to be perfect. I think it is unfair to hold the MUD to the standards of countries with more experience in holding primaries, their first time out.

      IT is good to have that as a goal, it is unfair to require it in a country like ours with little or no experience in that system. These are not internal party elections, they require more planning and more thought. Witness the fact they used the CNE structure for God's sake!

      They promised 165 (167?) unity candidates, and when all was said and done, there are those unity candidates for all to consider and judge and decide over.

      Remember, money is tight, the candidates had to pay for the primaries themselves too. I'm sure the parties had to have chipped in something, but these guys don't have the war chests they used to have two decades ago.

      I am not happy about "cogolleria" and other smoky back room stuff (which happens in the first, second, third and nth worlds), and wouldn't it be great if there were primaries everywhere, but as we say : "hasta donde alcance la cobija, mijo!"

      THe fact is we had some primaries, there were good levels of participation compared to other places and by and large (except for Mendoza) there was universal recognition by the losers that the winners won fair and square.

      What these primaries have managed to do is create the expectation for the next elections, whether state or local or whatever, for the electorate to demand open primaries going forward.

      Now all we have to do is win Congress, short circuit any plans to make Congress useless, try to head Hugo off at the pass and win a Presidency. Mas na, compai!


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