December 11, 2013
What a wonderful change
Everybody is marvelling at the miraculous changes in the government’s campaign rhetoric since their stunning defeat in the August 11 primaries and everybody is forecasting with total confidence that having swung 180 degrees in the last few weeks, they will swing the other 180 degrees back to the same old song once the October 27 midterm elections are over, whatever the outcome. But will they? They might very well, of course, but reality bites hard. And however long the denial of reality lasts, the chain is almost impossible to restore once snapped. By the same token the previous denial of inflation or crime here at least had the virtue of consistency but once their reality is admitted, there is no way back.
The idealistic view would argue that now CFK’s always fragile prospects of a third term have run into a brick wall, she will value her place in history above all else and, with nothing to lose from becoming unpopular, do everything needed to remove as many blemishes as possible from the heritage left to the next government. The more cynical view originates from looking at the last time a regime in power for a decade was reaching the end of the line. Whether consciously or subconsciously, Peronism under Carlos Menem left a minefield for their successors with the idea of returning to power in four years and actually coming back in two. At first glance the current situation seems to offer an excellent opportunity to revisit this strategy but the 27 months still remaining in CFK’s term are simply too much time — over 800 days as a lame duck amid growing economic disarray would shatter her prestige while a presidency ending prematurely would be an even greater humiliation. So why not begin anew now instead of stretching out the old for two more years?
But these speculative scenarios advanced above will have to pass the test of reality like everything else. Thus if the recognition of inflation goes beyond verbal recognition to reforming INDEC statistics bureau, for example, then a systematically skeptical population might have to start asking themselves whether the penitence might not be real after all and the changes permanent.