Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Mexican Election: Why Are Leftists So Much the Same?

So there's something approaching an official result in Mexico's presidential election, and the conservative Calderon is the winner.

Accompanying developments remind us of the famous opening observation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which, our copy not being ready to hand, we will quote from the unholy SparkNotes web site (and not in Russian, as if we could understand Russian): "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

Well, the response to Calderon's election by his opponent, Lopez Obrador, suggests that all leftists are unhappy in the same way:

  • Like Al Gore, Lopez Obrador insists that he will fight the electoral outcome, which unlike the situation in the north involves several hundreds of thousands of votes difference instead of a few hundred, in the courts.
  • Like leftists everywhere, Lopez Obrador insists that he and only he stands for "the people."
  • Like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, to whom Calderon often compared Lopez Obrador (and for which Calderon was widely accused of dirty campaigning), Lopez Obrador threatens revolution if he does not get his way.

The universal mythology of the left continues to be that a majority of the world's people supports the left because the interests of the majority are patently served only by the left. The universal problem of the left is that many elections don't bear this out. The universal explanation of the left is that the right tells lies, campaigns with dirty tricks, holds down voter participation and steals elections. The universal and sole evidence for these charges is the actual outcome of elections, which are won by the right but should be won by the left if everyone gets to vote and everyone's vote is counted.

The universal problem of the right is trying to govern with all this leftist noise in the background. Calderon, by all reports a smart and decent individual, will have his work cut out for him, not just with Mexico's corrupt government and dysfunctional, crime-ridden economy but now with a neo-socialist quasi-anarchist threatening a "people's revolution."

Mexico and the rest of the world awaits the real revolution that came several years ago to United Kingdom: the rise of a serious, competent, fair-minded and decent party of the center left that formulates thoughtful policy instead of playing Marxist games.

Viva Tony Blair!


Dave said...

It should also be noted that Calderon offered Obrador a spot in his cabinet, saying that in order to fix Mexico both sides needed to cooperate. Obrador of course wants nothing to do with this.

Anonymous said...

Smug, as always Jon! If the problem with leftists is that we are always unhappy... maybe the problem with conservatives is that they are always looking down on everyone else.
just a thought!

JB in CA said...

I'm inclined to agree with Jon (whoever he is) on this one. I'd even say that leftists are like adolescents in their inflated sense of entitlement if it weren't such an insult to adolescents.

JB in CA said...

Present company excluded, of course.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Dearest Anonymous, JB has exegeted my text accurately for you. We do not accuse leftists of being unhappy but of assuming that you are entitled to political power because you are for "the people."

We are not smug but opinionated and sarcastic. Smugness requires a self-satisfied sense of moral superiority.

"As always" captures something important though: we strive to be consistently opinionated and sarcastic.

Note as well that we consistently ask for a revival of meaningful political thought and dialogue from members of the left, as we did in this very piece. It's not that we object to leftists, but we object to irresponsibility, as evinced in claiming that every election lost by the left was stolen by the right. We don't trust any political grouping to succeed indefinitely without a serious opposition.

Kevin K said...

Obrador has been taking lessons from his fellow leftists to the north of the border. He has a manufactured video that he claims shows voter fraud.

Anonymous said...

Well then, maybe I stand corrected! But, you seem to overlook and under-estimate a large group of people in this country. People who have too much common sense to be really left, but too many morals to be right wing. I think a lot of people could learn so much more from you, if everything you said did not ring with the tone of arrogance! Then again, this isn't really about helping anyone is it? I do pray that each jab you take at the left, or anyone for that matter, is felt in your precious conservative world!

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Anonymous, we doubt very much that this blog has any significant impact on anyone's thinking. But that's not because of our arrogant tone. It's because blogs and related media don't change people's thinking much. People mostly reinforce their opinions reading other people's mind-droppings.

As to adopting a less arrogant tone, that would end the sarcasm. And those few people who do read, read for the sarcasm. So if we took your advice, no one would read.

As to whether the tone is properly arrogant or not, I will again note that the we are making fun of ourselves along with every other member of the human race by the tone of our discourse.

As to arrogance, you have just by your own fiat labeled the entire political right as immoral. Kinda hard to express an opinion in short form without something that can be taken as arrogant, isn't it?

But back to Mexico. There's something big at stake there. Obrador alleges fraud, but he has no evidence of fraud. He's playing his side of the divided electorate in hopes of gaining power despite having narrowly lost the election. If Mexico had a strong, long-standing democratic tradition, that would be relatively inconsequential in the long term. But given the newness of the Mexican democracy, Obrador is actually threatening the well-being of the very "people" for whom he claims to stand. If he succeeds, Mexico might have to wait another generation for a genuinely open election.