December 6, 2006

Podcast: "This is a political triumph amidst an electoral setback"

Quico says: Well, Manuel Rosales kicked a huge amount of ass at his press conference yesterday (download part of the audio here.) The guy will never quite be eloquent, but yesterday he came across as clear-headed, mature, forward-looking, sincere and even warm.

I think JayDee nailed it when he said the peculiar thing about the campaign was that we'd only find out if Rosales was for real after the election. Well, now it's clear: his is the kind of feet-firmly-planted-on-the-ground leadership the opposition has been in desperate need of since 1999.

It was a remarkable performance: stamping his authority on the opposition movement, squelching the all-too-predictable calls for a "plan b" response to Sunday's result, and distancing himself emphatically from the immediatist wing, Rosales paradoxically had his "Sister Souljah moment" after the vote.

For the first time in the anti-Chavez movement's history, an opposition leader emerges from an electoral defeat stronger and more credible than he was going in. For the first time, opposition votes have a clear owner with a clear commitment to carry on with the fight. And that's a very good thing indeed, because everything suggests to me that Rosales is a much more talented back-room politician than he is a campaigner.

So when the guy says that "this is a political triumph amidst an electoral setback," I, for one, buy it.