Brazil: “Lula is the Teflon President!”

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John Gotti: The Teflon Don

Political analyst David Fleischer, consulted by the newspaper, called Lula “The Teflon president: nothing sticks to him.”

“If I were Brazilian,” Rohter is quoted as saying, “I would ask the same question of Lula that Howard Baker asked about Nixon: What did the President know? And when did he know it?”

NYT destaca ‘resistência política’ de Lula: The G1/Globo news portal reports on the New York Times reporting on President Squid, president “Lula” da Silva of the RFB.

The news hook from this end: That Lula actually agreed to be interviewed by the New York Times, now that Larry Rohter is off writing his Nixonian “I did it my way” memoir. See

O “The New York Times” destacou a “resistência política” do presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva em reportagem distribuída por meio de sua agência de notícias neste sábado (22). A entrevista foi concedida no Palácio do Planalto na última quinta-feira (20) …

The New York Times emphasized the “knack for political survival” of President Lula in a report distributed through its news agency Saturday (September 22). The interview was conceded at the [Tupi White House] last Thursday.

Retranslating a translation of what the Times wrote is, of course, absurd. But what the hell. This is a blog. You get what you pay for.

Earlier this year, a Los Angeles Times report — written jointly with a guy from Transparency Brazil — also referred to Lula as “the Teflon President.”

Gringo readers will immediately recognize this as an allusion to “the Teflon Don,” mafioso John Gotti of New York. You know, the guy who used to run the Scores nightclub — hottest strippers in town! — there on (New York) Times Square.

You would think the New York Times could come up with a different — and more intelligent — angle on the story than its Left Coast congener.

O jornal destaca que, apesar dos últimos escândalos de corrupção no país, Lula mantém uma taxa de aprovação acima de 60% – na última quinta, o Ibope divulgou que 63% dos brasileiros aprovam a maneira como Lula governa.

The journal accentuates the fact that, despite the latest corruption scandals in Brazil, Lula maintains an approval rating higher than 60%. Last Thursday, Ibope published a poll showing that 63% of Brazilians approve of the way that Lula is governing.

Headline in the Folha and the Estadão the next day: “Lula’s popularity falls from 50% to 48%” With a margin of error of 2%, mind you.

Lies, damned lies, and Latin American poll-numbers stories.

Segundo o NYT, “o crescimento econômico do país, combinado com sua grande popularidade entre os trabalhadores, dá a Lula uma resistência política diga de nota”. O analista político David Fleischer, ouvido pelo jornal, chama Lula de “presidente teflon”: “nada gruda nele”, diz.

According to the New York Times, “the economic growth of the country, combined with his great popularity among workers, gives Lula a political resistance that is, shall we say, notable.” Political analyst David Fleischer, consulted by the newspaper, called Lula “The Teflon president: nothing sticks to him.”

That’s the best explanation you can come up with?

Ao ser questionado sobre uma possível disputa com o presidente Hugo Chávez, Lula se esquivou da idéia de transformar o Brasil em um contrapeso à crescente força política do venezuelano. “Nós aqui na América Latina não estamos procurando um líder”, afirmou. “Só quero governar bem meu país”.


Sobre o caso mensalão, o presidente não quis dizer se teria sido “traído”. Ele voltou a defender o ex-ministro José Dirceu: “não acredito que haja nenhuma evidência de que ele cometeu os crimes de que está sendo acusado. Ele será julgado”, disse.


Lula fez ainda um panorama positivo sobre a economia brasileira ao jornal. “Estamos vivendo um ótimo momento no Brasil”, disse o presidente. O otimismo de Lula se estendeu ao mercado do álcool combustível. “Acredito que o mundo vai se render ao etanol”, afirmou. Ele previu que, em 15 anos, a indústria de biocombustíveis estará desenvolvida e terá se transformado em uma commodity global.


I think Caros Amigos magazine summed up best why Lula is not susceptible to insinuations of personal corruption, or systematic corruption in his partisan base: Lula is not personally corrupt, nor is the PT systematically compromised, ethically speaking.

You can think what you like about them politically — and if you want a case study in some of the intense gabbling that petistas, like any political partisans the world over, are capable of, come interview our PT alderwoman — but mostly, I would say, this rhetoric of hysterical moral virginity does not stick to them because it is gabbling nonsense in its vast majority.

White-collar perp walks: “The people like it that way.” The Caros Amigos cover story seems like an astute piece of political analysis.

The talking point from Lula’s last campaign also seems to have been effective: “In the first four years my administration, the federal police completed nearly 400 anticorruption operations. In the eight years of my predecessor, fewer than 40.”

This is a compelling talking point. In large part because it is reality-based.

And povão know it, whether it makes the papers or not. See also

Look, I come not here to praise Lulism — I slept through macroeconomics in college …

But I can tell you one thing, as someone who worries about the safety of loved ones in this crazy country:

  1. Busting white-collar criminals, especially tax evaders.
  2. Busting up the jogo de bicho.
  3. Implacably hunting down police corruption.
  4. Busting death squads.
  5. Indicting Paulo Salim Maluf — a development which Larry Rohter scoffed at as “bizarre.”
  6. Militating for an end to gabbling Lacerdist confabulation in the grande imprensa, and fomenting competition in the media sector …

These developments are not chopped liver. They have legs. The people who work on these things are actually getting results.

And if you lived here — here being “outside the Green-Zone Zona Sul of Rio de Janeiro, and not inside a Green-Zone deluxe gated condominium, with a Colombian drug lord for a neighbor” — I bet you would be impressed by these things, too.

Bet you a beer, even.

See also

Advice to the Times‘ news man in Copacaban(a): (1) Shred and cremate Larry Rohter’s Rolodex, and perform an exorcism over the smoking ashes; (2) Don’t get spotted by the society columnists lunching with the lads from the Embassy, because inquring minds will start to wonder whether you can still past the teste de farinha; (3) Headquarter yourself somewhere besides the Zona Sul of Rio de Janeiro.

It seems to be mobbed up to the gills, for one thing.


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