Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – No one in Brazil seems to want Dilma as President. Her approval ratings have sunk to nine percent, an all-time low. The Presidents of both houses of Congress are openly taking positions against her. Her Vice President, in charge of political liaison with Congress, has complained she won’t let him do his job. Half of PT, her own party, led by Lula, her predecessor, are in open revolt against her austerity program.
Worse yet, TCU, Brazil’s administrative oversight tribunal, has given Dilma thirty days in which to defend herself against well-documented charges that she violated several provisions of the Law on Fiscal Accountability. Her response, so far at least, has been to get a former Secretary of the Treasury to fall upon his sword and say “yes, I did it all.” He didn’t say “but she approved it” but no one believes he did it behind her back.
Dilma isn’t stupid. She’s heard the pan-beating and horn-blowing. She’s heard Lula carp from the sidelines about her not announcing any positive programs. She reads the poll results. She knows there’s a crisis of leadership.
What does she do? She flies off to visit President Obama, doing nothing significant. She flies back to dedicate the Olympic Torch, a completely insignificant ceremony. She offers no positive program for anything. Aécio, the candidate she defeated in the 2014 election, says she’s abdicated. He’s probably right.
It’s beginning to become clear that Dilma herself doesn’t want to be President. She hates the austerity program. She hates the revelations of widespread corruption in Petrobras. She hates allocating executive positions to incompetent, unscrupulous coalition parties. She hates being a lame duck.
Power-hungry political sharks are all circling her boat, which is leaking. She’s got no rudder and at most one oar. The Curmudgeon will not be surprised if she resigns within the next few months.
The Curmudgeon will emit more Dismal Smidgens opportunely. Stay tuned.