24 de Feb de 2020

Nacional

When politics imitates football

Sunday’s Super Bowl was almost a snoozer?until the second half, when the Cardinals came alive and PRD Presidential Candidate Balbina Her...

Sunday’s Super Bowl was almost a snoozer?until the second half, when the Cardinals came alive and PRD Presidential Candidate Balbina Herrera was ‘sacked’ by an imaginative attack ad.

Super Bowl XLIII went off as predicted: the Pittsburg Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 and Budweiser came up with another funny ad, showing crabs on a beach worshipping a Budweiser beer cooler (you had to be there).

Politics not as usual. Then something strange occurred. The Spanish channel followed up the Budweiser spot with a Cambio Democratico ad against Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) head and presidential hopeful Balbina Herrera. What made the ad so effective was its creative use of old news clippings to show Herrera entering political life relatively poor and winding up a millionaire?all on her government salary.

Karl Rove, President Bush's former senior adviser, couldn’t have put together a more effective television political commercial. Herrera’s pictures are less than flattering (PRD protests to the Electoral Tribunal are likely). The message is short and visceral, and there was no long harangue over her leftist sympathies and ties to Venezuelan President and arch-narcissist Hugo Chavez or former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

Cambio Democratico is getting sound strategic advice. It is effectively marketing Presidential Candidate Ricardo Martinelli by focusing upon Herrera’s alleged failings. At a time when the economy and fairness issues are on the minds of voters, this kind of attack can be quite effective and permit Martinelli and his ‘team’ to stay in the background. And, as PRD candidates try to show how Herrera’s good fortune was legal and fair, voters will still carry the nagging suspicion to the polls that some of the CD’s allegations are true.

PRD strategists have their own game plan to derail the CD campaign. They are depicting Martinelli as an impulsive, arrogant, and greedy supermarket tycoon who sells stale, high-priced food and mistreats his workers. And, when these charges fail to take hold, PRD flacks accuse the CD leader of being ‘bi-polar’ and in need of psychiatric care. Interestingly, since these accusations have been made over the past several months, CD’s surveyed strength has increased. Apparently, the electorate feels more comfortable with Ricardo Martinelli than Balbina Herrera.

There is one more accusation the PRD is making against Martinelli that involves the American Ambassador to Panama, Barbara Stephenson. Martinelli and Panameñista presidential contender Juan Carlos Varela discussed forming an “Opposition Alliance” during a meeting they had together at the Ambassador’s residence to celebrate President Barack Obama ’s Inauguration last month. Although there were many other local notables at the residence, PRD candidates and officials are alleging that the Martinelli/Varela alliance is an American ‘plot’ to snatch victory from the PRD in next May’s elections. Ambassador Stephenson has wisely stayed out of the fray.

Chinese Cuisine CATastrophe. Chengdu Business Daily has reported that dogs and cats continue to be eaten in many restaurants in China and particularly in Guangdong province where diners are estimated to eat 10,000 cats a day. It has long been common for cats and dogs to be eaten in some parts of China and in some other Asian countries.

But, this custom may not last for long. Protests by animal welfare activists in China have been successful in closing some restaurants and in the hunting down of cat rustlers who ply the larger cities’ streets in search of feral cats to sell to restaurants. Protesters have urged the provincial government to crack down on cat traders and restaurants that serve cat meat. Although no law says it is illegal to eat dogs or cats, medical experts warn that eating cat can spread a virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).