Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the United States, where Presidents cannot legislate, people have grown accustomed to the spectacle of Congressional leaders seeking to enact their own personal agendas; particularly is this the case for “lame duck” Presidents who cannot stand for re-election. In Brazil, where re-election is a relatively new phenomenon, this has not been the case. Until now, that is.
Congressional leaders and factions have now perceived that Dilma has definitely gone lame. She dithers over appointments; she quivers over appearances; she proclaims the economy is recovering, she propounds impossible public works; she pretends her former mentor Lula is still on her side.
That’s lame. Dilma walks lame, quacks lame, and water runs lamely off her back.
Down on the farm in Brasília, happy as pigs wallowing in mud, Congressional leaders have taken over the reins of government. Not for nothing are the sharper ones known as foxes (“raposas”) — they never miss a chance to watch over the duck pond as well as the hen house.
The Presidents of both houses of Congress belong to PMDB, the political party once Dilma’s strongest political ally. Recently, they have outdone themselves promoting their own pet projects, in detriment to those Dilma’s Finance Minister Levy would like. The Vice President, also from PMDB, has been unable to stop the rot.
What has happened in Brasília is that PMDB has taken over power from PT, which is now treated (by PMDB) as an opposition party. This is analogous to what happened in the U.S. when the Republicans took over both houses of Congress. President Dilma, as lame as President Obama, must deal with a Congress that will oppose almost every presidential initiative, simply because she proposed it.
There is, however, one significant difference — both Brazilian Congressional leaders are under investigation by the Public Prosecutor for alleged corrupt practices; the U.S. leaders are not.
The Curmudgeon will emit more Smidgens opportunely, without animal-based mixed metaphors.