Opinion, by Michael Royster
São Paulo, SP – The Curmudgeon began this series highlighting a poll that showed pretty much a dead heat between those who thought Brazil’s President Bolsonaro was doing well, so-so and badly. The latest poll gives him slightly better ratings, but…after 110 days in office he is still the worst rated President in Brazil’s post-military democracy.
The Curmudgeon’s answer is quite simple: Jair Bolsonaro is unfit for the office of President of Brazil. Moreover, Bolsonaro himself knows he is not qualified.
He appointed competent economic and crime fighting Tsars, but has given them and their programs almost no support. Worse yet, he gave free rein over both Education and Foreign Affairs to a backstabbing, backbiting éminence grise (Old French for guru), after admitting his own ignorance about all these areas of government.
Bolsonaro’s ignorance has not been bliss.
He ran as a political outsider, notwithstanding 20+ years as a federal deputy. In truth, he was always an outsider, having refused to pay court to the “old politics” rajahs in Congress; they, in turn, spurned him as a far-right radical.
His acknowledged ignorance of essential purviews of government and his mistrust of Congress has led him to rely on his closest advisors: his three sons and his former colleagues in arms. As it happens, this has created friction within both Cabinet and Congress.
His three sons (the “Bad News Bairns”) have seemingly been brainwashed by guru Olavo de Carvalho, who spews out malignant criticism of anyone to the left of Genghis Khan, including – this is truly mind-boggling – Brazil’s military: he charges them with having left Brazil as easy prey for the “cultural Marxism” that (says he) is corroding Brazil.
There are eight military men in Bolsonaro’s cabinet, including Vice President Mourão. They do not take kindly to such criticism, particularly when the astrologist guru says their education has been deficient. Bolsonaro, whose campaign called for all Brazilian schools to follow the model of military academies, has remained silent.
Fifty years after Ato Institucional #5, which instituted a totalitarian government, many observers now surprisingly support the military, hoping they will be able to bring Bolsonaro and the Bairns to heel. One Bairn has even accused Mourão of plotting a coup; Bolsonaro has remained silent.
The Curmudgeon does not believe the military will control the Bairns’ influence over their father. Bolsonaro’s model has been Donald Trump, whose offspring continue as his prime influencers. During his days in uniform, Bolsonaro was a rebellious type. If forced to choose between colonels and kin, Bolsonaro will follow Trump’s lead and sack the military.
The Curmudgeon challenges his readers to name one positive thing that Bolsonaro has done as President, apart from appointing two “super ministers”: abolishing daylight savings time does not count.
Brazil now has a President who acknowledges he knows nothing about important aspects of government, who ignores Congress and chooses to rely upon a wing-nut philosophizer, close relatives and military colleagues for advice, and then silently watches his influencers rip at each other’s throats, while he poses as an above-the-fray bystander.
That timorous posture, the Curmudgeon submits, is sufficient evidence that President Bolsonaro is not fit for office.
RATING: (2 out of 10, tending downward as the Bairns’ influence grows)