Tuesday, October 11, 2011

AMLO's Wilson Center appearance: A wasted opportunity

I watched AMLO's presentation at the Wilson Center in DC today, via Web cast, and can't say I'm too impressed. As expected, the speech was very general in character and contained nothing new - summaries can soon be found elsewhere. Two quick commentaries on what bothered me in particular.

1) One the one hand, AMLO at times clearly states what he is "going to do" - as president. One act will be to get rid of Elba Esther Gordillo as head of the teachers union, building refineries, etc. Great - and applause followed. But almost in the next breath, when confronted by an El Universal reporter who point out that this sounds like his official presentation of his campaign platform, AMLO is very quick to respond that, oh no, this is not a campaign act at all, he is merely presenting the program of MORENA, his civil association. He again demonstrates that the laws that bind other candidates simply do not apply do him.

2) The Q & A was also a completely wasted opportunity. The quality of the questions left much to be desired (and Peter Hakim took far too long to get to his point, which I and it seems AMLO as well lost) - and the last "question" was particularly embarrassing, as some academic, rather than using the important occasion to ask a concrete question, wasted the privilege by just expressing how she is honored to be with AMLO. But even those questions that did have some nutritional content and were quite concrete, had no effect on AMLO rather than eliciting long-winded, meandering banal generalities. "Will you pact with narcos?" "What the country needs is education, values, spiritual values, bla bla bla."

Given that AMLO was quite concrete earlier when he spelled out what he would do, it seems to me that it is not for fear of being accused of campaigning that he cannot give a straight reply to any concrete questions, but rather, when called out in front of an audience, he simply does not have any good answers.

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