I’m listening

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I'm all ears

An excellent Reuters story on Capriles. Two takeaways from this:

1. Capriles is in a unique position to sell himself as “a listener.” If anything, I think they are not scoring enough with this.

Imagine an ad: “While one candidate talks, and talks, and talks, another candidate wants you to do the talking. He wants to listen to your problems, your concerns, and your ideas on how we can solve this … together … how we can make all Venezuelans progress.”

They should ditch calling his tour a “casa por casa.” A good-ol’ Listening Tour is what they should call this.

2. Capriles is now mentioning Chávez by name? He is going to talk about the President’s cancer? Interesting development. Worth pointing out that he is still not *attacking* Chávez, just talking about him. I guess if you can’t ignore the issue, address it head on. I don’t know if this will be effective, but it sure sounds like there has been a shift.

HT: Quico.

20 thoughts on “I’m listening

  1. Totally love the idea. Caminatas are nice and all, but they’re so 1973. It would be great having a town hall meetings during the campaign. The door-to-door is perfect to get to know people and be recognized, but there should be also room for a quiet chat with the candidate about the problems Venezuelans face day in and day out. An open forum to let people speak out their minds. Let Capriles show them he wants to listen about the biggest concerns of guys in good ol’ Parapara. Even more important, let HRC tell them he cares about them and how he plans to fix such problems if he gets elected.

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    • Gee, if caminatas are so 1973, town hall meetings are so 1633 (first recorded town hall meeting in New England). Or you could say, they are so 14th century (two Swiss cantons still practice the 700-year old tradition of open-air assemblies).

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      • I’m talking about political campaigns in Venezuela. “Ese hombre si camina”, CAP’s motto in 1973, is probably the golden standard for that. It’s pretty nice to watch the candidate walk by and – if you’re lucky – shake his hand, but what about a nice chat with him for a change?
        Town hall meetings are something I haven’t seen or heard in Venezuela. Probably I am wrong, but the closest thing to a town hall meeting are the party rallies and some meetings with a few organizations (Fedecamaras, Conindustria or probably some syndicate now and then), but never with an average group of citizens or neighboors. I would love to see that.

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        • Leopoldo Lopez tried a version of that during his campaign. It wasn’t very interactive and looked more as a traditional rally, but it got somewhere close to the format.

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          • Agree. LL’s version of a townhall meeting had no focus on *meeting*. Rather, LL was intent on conveying his message, his national vision, as a traditional politician would. The *meeting* was more about LL than the community. No townhall meeting at all, in the traditional sense of the phrase.

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  2. I love the idea of townhall meetings. One of the few aspects of Leopoldo Lopez’s campaign that worked so well was the events of this kind. He can help HCR with that.

    The “listening” angle could be a winning theme. I’m also pleased with the “casa x casa” tour.
    The only concern is time. If the election is in October after all, he has to make some quick choices about how to personally reach as much as possible in so little time and with the limited resources at its disposal.

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    • Here’s how I see it.

      Setting up townhall meetings should not be difficult. (1) Contact the local politician who favours the oppo. (2) Ask that local pol to gather several of the most respected members of the town. Together, these would form a committee to listen, process future papelitos, and convey needs to the political hierarchy. (3) Invite the press to record the issues, upon discussion. (4) naturally, invite all who can and want to attend.

      In so doing, these townhall meetings would become the precursor for much-needed decentralization.

      On the day of the meeting, and on the podium, HCR, plus the local respected members of the town and the local politician would discuss issues relevant to the town’s economic and social needs.

      At the end of the meeting, the townsfolk would be allowed to pose a question via an open mike. That would ensure inclusion and be the start of taking personal responsibility and ownership for problems that have plagued the town.

      I think this is the pattern to follow.

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  3. It’s a wonderful idea!

    But remember it will not be only H. Capriles. Whenever possible, the known people in the MUD and specially the other pre-candidates should ply their own turfs (and those turfs where they have chance of gaining chavistas and ni-nis). The MUD campaign should make it known that these persons count, that they will have real power and a voice in the Capriles administration, so they can be taken seriously as listeners and representatives.

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  4. This was precious: “Chávez dice que tiene que operarse en otro país porque no están dadas las condiciones para ser atendido en su propio país. ¿Qué mensaje tan duro no? ¿Qué esperanza puede tener el que está enfermo de cáncer, cuando el jefe de Estado dice ‘no me atiendo en mi propio país’?”

    It’s something that has been in the mouth of a lot of people I know and it’s an excellent question to ask: “is the health care in your country so bad and why is that, Chavez?”

    The listening part is a great idea. Launch it right after a long Alo Presidente. That’d do.

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    • Plan for the listening tour NOW and launch it quickly. Don’t wait for after a long Aló Presidente. For, assuming Ch. actually has cancer, has been operated on, and is receiving radioterapia, it may be a few weeks before another of his forced broadcasts.

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  5. Slightly OT: I noticed the great shape HCR is in — and how that may be perceived by the folks he’s meeting: “Pobrecito, está flaco… se ve enfermo…” I remember reading something about how portly politicians in Venezuela tend to have a more positive perception. On the other hand, I’m sure the campaign trail will be packed with lunch and dinner events, so…

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    • jajaja. on the other hand, females who view him as a too thin pajarito will want to mother him, and that will create a bond.

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        • Well like it or not, Juan, assuming HCR wins, and once the honeymoon is over (and I hope not too soon), there will be elements of comedy. For politics, most particularly in a society of non-Swiss, often borrows from entertainment to make its voice seen and heard.

          I suspect that HCR is fully capable of understanding this human view of politicians

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  6. But did you catch the Capriles “quote” in another Reuters article?

    “Capriles cree que Chávez gastará mucho dinero en la campaña electoral, pero insiste en que le vencerá. “Esto va a ser una campaña totalmente desigual, no podemos competir en términos de recursos”, ha sostenido, convencido de que la empresa estatal Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) financiará la propaganda ‘chavista’. (14 marzo 2012)” http://monitoreociudadano.org/yomonitoreo/2012/929

    Good to hear the democratic alternative speaking out against Chávez’ illegal use of public media (recúrsos) for his election campaign. Venezuelans and others need to denounce this practice that eliminates any sense of a “level playing field” in the October 2012 presidential elections. The pre-campaign has started. Now regulate it.

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    • I was this close to post it this morning! Well played sir! This song is unbelievably catchy.

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