Well, I've been surfing YouTube for clips of Manuel Rosales campaigning. Basically, the guy seems to have two modes: soporific and hyperventilatory.
Here's an example of soporific:
Now, playing this clip, even those of you who don't understand Spanish will have no trouble grasping why his candidacy, erm, faces an uphill struggle..that tone! Those of you who do understand Spanish really owe it to yourselves to bajarse de esa nube.
In his more meditative mode, Rosales is as boring and vapid as politicians come. Somebody with a discourse that is at once this trite, this technocratic, this platitudinous, this abstract and, to top it all off, utterly devoid of emotional punch just cannot compete with a charismatic, cash-flush Chavez.
And then there's Rosales in rabble-rousing mode:
In this more engaged register, the guy is just a paleo-adeco, a kind of cro-magnon, a living fossil of the political culture Venezuelans overwhelmingly rejected when they voted for Chávez and continue to tell pollsters they reject today. The only connecting thread between the two Rosaleses is how utterly vapid, how ethereal his discourse is in both registers.
We are badly, badly off track if we think this guy can compete with Chávez, folks. Our only hope now is a highly unlikely revival of Rausseoism.