Monday, November 20, 2006

A Tale of Two Elections

A couple of months ago I learned from a fellow panelist at a conference at GVSU that there are elections in Cuba and that the people responsible for the assassination of Ché Guevara can be traced all the way to right-wingers in Hudsonville, Dick DeVos and Fr. Sirico of the Acton Institute, not to mention the little green men that float outside my window at night. Of course, we must disregard the fact that five recent books from very top Cuban dissidents have all implied Fidel’s hand in the betrayal of Ché.

The point is that the political sport of elections has almost become as amusing to watch as the entire carnival atmosphere associated with the World Cup. Let’s look at two recent elections, first, the Nicaragua elections. Frankly, l was expecting multiple Ortegasms in the American media and the liberal academic establishment resulting from the triumph of the former Marxist guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega. But perhaps because those elections were happening simultaneously with the ones here their results didn’t get much attention. But I suspect something else.

Although Ortega was the sentimental preferential option of the liberal establishment in the US, he is no longer the same Ortega of old. Gone are the harsh anti-American rhetoric, the grandiose revolutionary plans and the Marxist ideology. At least, that is what he has been claiming ever since a few years ago he publicly recognized the errors and mistakes of his Sandinista administration, and since he returned the “confiscated” private property obtained personally through “las piñatas”, the windfall of private properties the “comandantes” appropriated for themselves.

To the chagrin of former comrades Ortega ran as a centrist, as a reformed democrat, as a believer in the free market and a believer in free elections holding to a fragile center-left-of-center coalition. Ironically, it was the intervention of a former “enemy”, Ronald Reagan, what brought Ortega back to power, electoral means, and not violent revolution.

Also, on the way to the American elections all kinds of generals and pundits were paraded through the liberal media echoing the words and position of Rep. Murtha. Now the same media is parading the same generals and pundits saying that an immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be disastrous and Rep. Murtha has been stabbed back. Yes, the Democrats ran as conservatives and finally achieved the parallel with Vietnam that they so had been wishing to have.

In an ironic twist of fate the analogy or parallel that opponents of the intervention in Iraq have been looking for from the beginning has been found: Democrats are seeking a political solution to a military problem. Irony of ironies, they have created for themselves a Nixonian quagmire. Soon we will be hearing of a new version of "Peace with honor".
So, about these two elections two questions remain. The question in the US is, will the Democrats be able to hold on to the pretend and superficial "conservative" coalition they have put together when James Carville and the Clinton’s "ex machina" is already calling for the head of Howard "Yee Haa" Dean?

And the question for Nicaragua is, can Daniel Ortega resist the temptation of looking back to Cuba, or even Venezuela, or will he find a sympathetic hand up north to help him hold his fragile coalition together? Let’s hope he finds one and let’s hope he means what he says. The Nicaraguan people have learned the difference between Chávez and Shanola.