July 30, 2005
It's Not Me, It's You
Lula, whose government is now so rife with corruption that the populist is facing impeachment, has apparently decided on a new public relations strategy. Protesting innocence and offering exculpatory evidence is for losers, the new breed of angel-pure, Latin-American leftists simply tells the citizenry that they're a bunch of scumbags and should stop being so goddamn hypocritical:
As his government and his reputation collapse around him, Mr. da Silva in Brazil has taken a similar tack. He initially contended that "as regards its electoral behavior, the Workers' Party did what has been done systematically in Brazil." But he has since abandoned those excuses in favor of protestations of innocence and personal integrity.
"Among 180 million Brazilians, there is no one, neither man nor woman, with the authority to lecture me about ethics, morals or honesty," he said in a speech here last week. "In this country, the person who can debate ethics with me has yet to be born."
There's also a dangerous geopolitical aspect to all this. A few short years ago, Lula was a hero, a hope. He was a Democratically elected labor leader who promised populism without authoritiarianism. But, to the Brazilian people, he and his promises are failing. And when hope in democrats gets dashed, resignation towards dictators reemerges:
Frustration has reached dangerous levels in several countries, with sometimes violent street protests. The shift from authoritarian governments to democracies, many had hoped, would squelch the kind of corruption that predominated when dictators ran the affairs of state to the benefit of a small clique of insiders and threatened whistle-blowers.
Yet successor governments across the political spectrum, whether free-market advocates like Mr. Toledo or self-proclaimed leftists like Mr. da Silva, have proved even more susceptible. With once-closed economies having been opened up and corporate profits at record levels, the opportunities for graft and bribes are larger than ever.
So widespread is the disgust that last year another regionwide poll found that a majority of Latin Americans would prefer a return to dictatorship if it would bring economic benefits. Despite improved economic indicators since then, the ranks of the poor have continued to swell, as has the resentment of those who are pocketing the wealth of the nation for their own benefit.
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There is, after all, from a purely Populist point of view, something to be said for making the trains run on time. Remember too what Il Duce told us about what Fascism is, and that the Right are pros at this. Lefties, don't try this at home...
Posted by: Doozer | Jul 31, 2005 11:35:04 AM
Posted by: peter.w | Sep 16, 2007 11:00:29 PM
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