Thursday, June 08, 2006

All posts were moved (11/2006) to

THE Debate -- basically a tie...

There's not much point in my writing a long piece on last night's debate. My screw-up -- I didn't see it. The highlights of Calderón v. AMLO are available through El Universal's website. There were five candidates, but neither Patricia Mercado nor Roberto Campo really count. Though, I have to admit, Mercado came off well, pumping not for the Presidency, but for enough votes to gain a few plurinomial Assembly seats to bring up (and horsetrade) votes on iniatives to reduce domestic violence, increase transparency and push for free trade agreements within the Americas. Campo -- Esther Elba Gordilla's good soldier -- was irrelevant. La Maestra and her minions may garner some votes, but I don't think the debate would affect their support (or lack of support) one way or the other. Madrazo, and his PRI-Green Alliance is still behind -- no surpise there. He managed to get in more digs at Vincente Fox than anyone else -- which probably won't help Felipe Calderón any, but may not much help PRI either. Who knows, maybe those votes will go to Patricia Mercado's AMLO and Calderón are the only ones who really count. According to Kelly Arthur Garrett, "The general consensus of panelists gathered on public television was that Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party (PAN) and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) waged a cautious, defensive battle that ended in a virtual tie. The two candidates were tied for the lead in most polls released just before the debate." To my thinking, this makes AMLO the "winner" -- he and Calderón traded snipes (Calderón claims Mexico City is out of control, to which AMLO responds by sweetly asking why he's so popular with the voters there; AMLO raises questions about Calderón's relations who've made money off bank restructuring ), but by NOT getting angry or uptight, he did a good job of neutralizing Calderón's claims that AMLO is a loonie leftist. And Calderón -- from what I can tell -- was well organized but came across as too wonky and cold to really appeal to the voters. The last pre-debate polls had Calderón and AMLO tied at 36% each (AMLO inching back up, Calderón falling from 39%). Madrazo had briefly been almost tied, but at 24%, it looks as if he pre-debate support was mostly dissatisfied PAN supporters -- or undecideds. There's some new anti-Calderón commercials coming out this week, and a weird story about the wife of Carlos Ahumada (the jailed businessman who videotaped himself bribing Mexico City officials and PRD operatives) being attacked by gunmen because she threatened to release new tapes -- but I've become sceptical of "convenient" attacks by phantom gunmen ever since the Governor of Oaxaca staged a phony attack on himself (that backfired, when he actually got winged -- served him right!). AND... of course, the World Cup trumps presidential politics. My friend José Luis Borgues calls futbol "el opio del pueblo mexicano", but any polls taken during the World Cup are going to be automatically suspect. Who in their right mind is going to answer the phone, or talk to a pollster (or take a poll) when there's a game on TV?


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