Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Lamest Form of Political Horn-Tooting

With all of my being, I loath the political tactic, common among mayors and governors in Mexico, of ostensibly demonstrating success by simply pointing to a large number of tasks accomplished, with very scant attention to the quality of the tasks. The problem, of course, is that you can lower the bar enough so that not appearing before the cameras with toilet paper covering shaving cuts is an accomplishment, and leave office with six million compromisos cumplidos. That wouldn't, of course, make your tenure a successful one, because often in governing, one legitimately big accomplishment --say, balancing the budget, or reforming the police-- is worth more than millions of small ones. I thought of all this when I saw this fawning story about Enrique Peña Nieto's reaching the 508 pledges fulfilled. Quite the milestone.

Ex-mayor José Ángel Pérez was a big proponent of this approach in Torreón. I believe his big opening was 100 public works in his first 100 days. However, you'd be hard pressed to point to eight public building projects that were more complicated than a series of speed bumps, and as I've discussed in the past, the more complicated ones seemed needlessly costly and complicated. It's also noteworthy that despite his 100 projects, Pérez left office widely considered a failure.


Yann Kerevel said...

Well put. What drives me nuts are the full page ads you sometimes see by state legislatures listing accomplishments, and half of them seem to be about holding a conference about some inane topic.

pc said...

Yann Kerevel!! What are you doing/Where are you writing these days?

I've not seen a whole lot of those ads you're talking about, but yeah same idea, and totally lame. I know it must suck to have the media ignore what good you do accomplish, but the solution is not to tout non-accomplishments.

Yann Kerevel said...

Actually living in D.F. right now, researching and writing my dissertation on the Mexican Congress at ITAM. One of these days I may get back to blogging, but right now I'm focusing on getting my research finished.

pc said...

That's an understandable diversion. Good luck with the writing...When are you finishing it up?