The dangers of Twitter-politics: the day Capriles Radonski might have lost the primaries

One reason I am not writing much on primaries, yet, is that they are so far ahead (Venezuelan political time), the risks of implosion so elevated, that I do not feel compelled to pay much attention, yet. And today I was vindicated as Capriles Radonski, governor or Miranda, and far ahead in polls (if it were not for Leopoldo Lopez unable to run), has made a major faux-pas that may cost him the primary.

I mentioned yesterday how idiotic the sanctions were against PDVSA (no bite) and utter idiotic was the reply of the regime, including Chavez who made a fool of himself on Twitter (even less bite).  Well, Chavez can afford to make a fool of himself on Twitter because he does that on TV all the time, but Capriles cannot.  In this tweet which will hunt him for a while (at least in this blog) he supports the over-sized and over-idiotic answer of the regime tot he PDVSA sanctions. "Our support to our oil industry and a message of tranquility to all Venezuelans, there will be no effect on the countries income" as I refuse to use short talk on Twitter.

Now, even if this is clever at one level, deflecting a massive chavista attack on him for, oh, for a few days until they find another issue, it is so wrong on so many other fronts, in spite of the 100+ characters, that he will rue the day he wrote it.  Well, I think he wrote it anyway, it is "polished" in tweet script and sounds way more genuine than whatever "Chavez" tweets.

Capriles is not uninformed, he knows that the "sanctions" will cost little to Venezuela (at least way less than what corruption costs every day).  And yet, instead of limiting himself to state the obvious, he goes out of his way to support the regime's reply to the US, TWICE.  The whole story below.

At the bottom "Our energetic rejection tot he US imposed sanctions against our oil industry. Any [tweet longer] interference in our internal country matters is unacceptable".

Somebody must have called him soon because a few minutes later a more neutral tweet appeared, the one translated above.

A few more minutes and an initial attempt at fixing up things "our sovereignty requires a bigger economic independence, our country is more dependent than ever [tweet longer] the national production of food and other basic products has diminished dramatically, and imports grow as never before".  So now he is talking.....  But too late, El Nacional among others had picked on the governor's nasty tweets.

It is doubtless that Capriles wrote this on the spur of the moment, and Twitter is merciless on intemperate politicians, the more so when their Twitter readership is composed mostly of opposition decidedly anti Chavez primary electors which will have a hard time digesting that.  Today people like MCM, Paz and even LL must feel that they gained a point or two in polls.

Personally I think it is a major mistake because with this Capriles already betrays a certain arrogance of taking his voters for granted this early, that he feels he can tweet for chavistas, as if that many PDVSA workers were following Capriles...  It is fair to say that at least half of the primary voters next February are hard core anti Chavez and such utterance can make a big, big difference among them as they hold no loyalty to anyone inside the opposition, looking strictly for the guy better able to take Chavez out of office (I know, I am one of those).  When you read such nonsense then you start paying more attention to the other candidates.

Second, it betrays a deep lack of foreign policy knowledge.  Such a tweet could come back to haunt him if he ever becomes president as he will be considered from the start of his term a hot head in foreign policy, unreliable.  It is not that other countries are expecting the next Venezuelan president to be a foreign policy maven, but they certainly hope he will be better able than Chavez to hold his tongue on matters he knows nothign about.

And third, and possibly worse: lack of intellectual clarity.  You cannot trash Chavez on stuff and praise him on other stuff as if nothing.  If for political expediency you must praise some fo Chavez initiatives, you must do so in measured terms, on well chosen issues, not on those that will upset and confuse your potential electorate.

Bad, bad move Henrique!!!!!  Stop twitting so fast and stick to domestic issues where you excel----

PS: and this will be my first "official" primary watch post, with a new label.