President Cristina Kirchner gave a defiant speech Wednesday in which she blasted the media, banks, politicians and just about everyone else who has ever criticized her government.
The president downplayed her party’s thumping in Sunday’s primary election and claimed that the media lied and tried to cover up the party’s victory in places like Antarctica, where she got about 55% of the vote. Indeed, Mrs. Kirchner began her speech by saying the media had “covered up” her party’s victory in Antarctica.
In reality, only around 86 people, or 0.000002% of Argentina’s population, cast valid ballots in Antarctica, meaning the election results there were next to meaningless in terms of their relevance to the overall election.
The speech was full of colorful quotes. Here are the most interesting ones:
“I’m not a benchwarmer for anybody. I’m the president of 40 million Argentines.” – Here the presidents was saying that opposition party candidates, who actually did very well in the election, were not worthy of being on the stage with her. She referred to them as “backup” or “second string” players. She said they were not valuable in and of themselves, but rather were merely means to an end sought by special interest groups such as banks. The truly important “first string” players are these special interests. Mrs. Kirchner said she would sit at the table and negotiate with these players but not with the benchwarmers. It was entirely unclear what this might mean, if anything, in practical terms.
“In economics, when you give something to someone, it’s because you’re taking it away from someone else.” – Here Mrs. Kirchner was saying, essentially, that the economy is a zero-sum game, in which there are winners and losers. There are no win-win situations in economics, according to this view.
“I don’t think there are good intentions there. I’d be a liar if I said there were.” – Here the president was referring to those who disagree with some of her policies. This is a fairly common view expressed by the president and members of her cabinet. Those who disagree with her are traitors, not patriots who simply have different viewpoints.
“Above all, I’m a political militant who feels the obligation to tell people the truth.” – Mrs. Kirchner has been increasingly referring to her own honesty in recent speeches. This comes as more people appear to be questioning the president’s vision of reality.
“When Wall Street becomes happy, muchachos, we should be worried. Whenever they’ve been happy, things have gone very badly for us.” – Here Mrs. Kirchner recalls the government’s view that markets should not be listened to or respected. Instead, markets should be managed and tamed so that they don’t lead the country into economic ruin. Paying too much attention to the demands of the market, the president has often said, leads to financial, economic and political trouble.