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The son also raises an objection

19 February 2010

Sinaloan Federal Deputy Manuel Clouthier is in trouble with his party.

Although a PAN representative, Clouthier had the temerity to  refer to the President’s  “supposed war on drugs in Sinaloa“.  Specifically, he complained that,  “It’s now three years into the government of Felipe Calderón and in Sinaloa there has not been any decisive action against the drug traffickers, nor has the government done anything serious.”

Julio Castellanos, the Chamber of Deputies PAN party whip demanded Clouthier either retract his remarks or resign his seat.  According to Castellanos, Clouthier has a duty as a PAN representative to NOT object to the party’s support of whatever the President is doing (or not doing) in the “war on drugs.”

Clouthier responds that Castellanos doesn’t know anything about Sinaloa, and besides, he represents a Sinaloan constituency, not a PAN one.

What makes this interesting is that Manuel Clouthier is the son of Manuel Clouthier, Manuel de Jesus Clouthier Rincon, who is to PAN as Franklin Delano Roosevelt is to the U.S. Democratic Party or Ronald Reagan to the Republicans.  Or more.  The elder Clouthier was not only the first PAN leader to have a significant national following (he received 17 percent of the vote in his run for the Presidency in 1988), but was also largely responsible for repositioning PAN as a legitimate conservative party, building a base beyond its traditional norteño and clerical support.  A strategic and long-range thinker, Clouthier Rincon organized an “alternative government” (a strategy later followed by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador following his much more problematic loss of the Presidency) following the 1988 elections, both to develop PAN’s own proposals to political initiatives from the Salinas de Goutari Administraton, but also to act as a leadership incubator for future party leaders, including “Secretary of Agriculture” Vicente Fox.  He died in a car accident in 1989, which some to this day claim was no accident.

An iconic figure in his party, he might be analogous to Ronald Reagan or Franklin Delano Roosevelt in U.S. political party history.   Reagan and Roosevelt had sons who turned away from their father’s ideology, but it seems somewhat rare in Mexican politics for sons to stray too far from their father’s political inheritance.  More likely is that the party drifts from the family’s political heritage.  Lazaro Cardenas del Rio’s presidency pre-dated the PRI as an party.  His son, Cuauhtémoc, stayed on the left… his break with the PRI was over its drift to the right.  Felipe Calderón’s father, Luis  Calderón Vega was one of the founders of PAN, but resigned the party in 1981 claiming the party had gone from progressive and democratic to a tool of the rich (Felipe was 19 at the time, so perhaps early childhood experience trumped later paternal involvement).

In 2005 Clouthier Rincon’s daughter, Tatania,  then a Federal Deputy from Nuevo Leon, quit the party complaining that the Fox Administration was turning PAN into a bad copy of PRI. But Manuel, hijo, until now has been a loyal PANista, and his “treason” suggests that PAN is both becoming, as his sister said, “a bad copy of PRI” and — like the U.S. Republicans, eating its own, as it becomes ideologically rigid and turning out the very people that reformers like the elder Clouthier and Luis Calderón saw as necessary if they were to create a party capable of governing the country from a conservative platform.

One Comment leave one →
  1. jessedziedzic permalink
    19 October 2011 10:47 pm

    You’re totally right with this piece!

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