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Brozo the Clown, AMLO and the Alternative Presidency…

6 January 2007

AMLO has sort of dropped off the radar screen lately.  I see that he’s getting his own TV show (early Tuesday mornings on TV Azteca) which should be as entertaining as his old Mayoral news conferences.  I just wish he wasn’t such an early riser… he used to hold his daily press briefings at 6 AM

Being pretty well cut off from the media (Azteca and Televisa both traditionally follow the government line) had to have hurt.  AMLO, do matter what you think of the guy, is a master at using the media.  I expect he’ll use the early morning show much the way Brozo the Clown used “el Manañero” — bringing the “untouchable issues” into the media, where the press has no alternative but to talk about them.  It was through Brozo that the Fox administration launched the “desafuero” campaign, leaking “evidence” that the Federal District Comptroller was dipping into the till.  (That “evidence” btw, apparently came from the FBI, under the rubric of looking for “terrorists” in Las Vegas casinos).   

Brozo and AMLO are a strange pairing, but Brozo’s only innovation was using TV.  In the ancient pre-internet days, the Mexico City Times — a crappy newspaper indeed — survived not on the tourist readership sales — but on financing from factions within the PRI that wanted to slip their “spin” to the press (simple and devious.  If it was in a second-rate foreign-language paper, obviously it meant nothing to the readership… but it gave the mass-market press something to reference and follow up, and a Mexican, not foreign, source for their information).   

This isn’t what I expected from the Alternative Presidency, but give it time.  Like Manuel Clouthier’s “Presidency” in 1988 after PAN came in 3rd in the presidential elections — Vincente Fox was alternative secretary of Agriculture  ) it’s a way to groom leaders for the next election and — at least in AMLOs case — to act as a think tank and legislative pressure group. 

The TV show meets ONE goal of the Alternative Presidency — “opening up the communications media” — but I think he’ll be using this program to start pushing the other goals (the whole list, in English, is in the Wikipedia biographical article on AMLO).  Some of the goals — preventing tax increases that fall mostly on the poor —  have already had some legislative success, but how much this is due to pressure from the Alternative Cabinet, and how much just because a soft-drink tax wasn’t likely to pass anyway, I can’t say. 

Clouthier was killed in a traffic accident (though some PANistas will say it was no accident) too soon after the election to really judge the success of HIS Alternative Presidency.  It was never really intended to do much other than put out position papers for the party faithful and keep the organization intact. 

However… “Secretary of Agriculture” Fox did become President in 2000 and the Party was able to spend six years broadening its appeal, becoming the main opposition party in 1996, and taking over the Presidency in 2000.  

AMLO is starting out with a lot more legitimacy for his “Alternative Presidency” than Clouthier had.  Even among non-supporters — and those who don’t support the “Alternative Presidency” — there is suspicion that AMLO probably won. 

IN 1988. PAN only received 17.11 percent of the vote in that dubious election (Cuauhtemoc Cardenas received 30.95 percent.  That’s the official count, though everyone accepts that the count was manipulated to give Carlos Salinas at least a hair over 50 percent.  Cardenas probably received something closer to 40 to 45 percent and beat Salinas, but some of his stolen votes were shifted to Clouthier, who probably had closer to 10 or 12 percent support). 

OFFICIALLY, in 2006, AMLO received 35.31 percent, but probably a fraction more.  Clouthier was nowhere near second place, and his “alternative government” had a long-term effect that I think will be much more noticable in AMLO’s case.  I don’t know if he’ll be president in 2012.  Unlike the U.S., Mexico doesn’t start thinking about the next president until a year or so before the elections.  But I’d keep an eye on that “Alternative Presidency”.  AMLO’s off and running. And, unlike Brozo, he doesn’t need to wear an orange wig to scare the opposition.      

One Comment leave one →
  1. joseangel permalink
    21 January 2007 8:12 pm

    Although AMLO got a lot of votes in the last elections, I believe he was misguided about the intentions of those who voted for him. Because the great mayority of those who vote in an elections expect the loser to accept his or her defeat, and in AMLO´s case, it was no exception.

    He lied to many Mexicans about an election fraud he could not demonstrate at all in the courts and not even in the media, where his empty boxes became famous. His statements blaming his own party representatives at the elections offended many people who supported him.
    There have many polls conducted in the last months by the most prestigous and respected Mexican newspapers. These polls indicate how bad AMLO has lost the great support he once enjoyed. The recent elections results in Chiapas and Tabasco also indicate how people are begining to grow tired of the PRD´s conflictive and radical positions, and people are begining to look for more moderate political options.

    Like many countries in the world, Mexican people prefer moderate political options, be them in the left or in the right, but moderate and not radical. And AMLO´s big mistake has been to radicalize his speech and actions to the point of violence and trying to create constitutional crisis, my opinion is that he and his political party will pay a high price for theri radicalism and beligerance.

    Although the PRD legislators and senators have been working with PRI and PAN counterparts lately to pass budget and laws in congress and perhaps that is a healthy sign they are begining to take a more moderate stance.

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