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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. Midterm Elections; Sao Paulo

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RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7113
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 7578
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TAGS: KMDR OPRC OIIP ETRD BR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S. MIDTERM ELECTIONS; SAO PAULO


1. "Elections Force Bush To Migrate To The Center"

Business-oriented Valor Economico editorialized (11/13): "U.S.
voters changed the axis of President George W. Bush's policy by
withdrawing support for his continuing to lean to increasingly
towards the right and forcing him to the center.... The reasons for
Bush's defeat are clear. His most evident mistake is the Iraqi
war... but corruption scandals in Bush's party were almost as
important for the election returns.... The Democrats have sufficient
power to paralyze the rest of Bush's term, but they do not have a
clear vision of what they want. There is no easy way out for Iraq,
and the Democrats have not presented any new strategy on the
subject, except for the flirtation of some of their factions with
the possibility of a disastrous unilateral withdrawal.... The new
Congress tends to be more protectionist than the current one. The
possibility of renewing the fast track has become remote. Trade
agreements already signed with Colombia and Peru - and the one being
considered with South Korea - will run the risk of being vetoed if
they are not approved by the current Congress.... With the Doha
Round's failure it is very unlikely that initiatives favoring the
FTAA will prosper.... Foreign policy is expected to be less
unilateral and, in regards to the environment, the U.S. will
probably adopt a more moderate position, following the Democrats'
inclination.... The immigration question may also escape from the
radicalism shown by the wall on the Mexican border.... To obtain
some efficiency in the two final years of his mandate, Bush will
have to become a moderate, almost the opposite of what he has been
in the past six years. What remains to be seen is whether he wants
or has talent to do so."

2. "The World And The Democrats' Victory"

University Professor Gesner Oliveira wrote in liberal, largest
national circulation daily Folha de S. Paulo (11/11): "What remains
to be seen is whether the overwhelming Democratic victory in the
U.S. Congressional elections will represent a relevant change in the
policy of the world's main economy.... The Bush era has not ended
yet. But Bush has become an even weaker president than a White
House tenant normally is during the two final years of his second
term.... The decision to invade Iraq was hasty and disastrous, [but]
the Democratic majority does not seem to have a concrete proposal to
face the problem. Like Vietnam, Iraq will be a trauma for several
administrations, Democrat and Republican. But there is a positive
aspect. The inclination for unilateral decisions, a George W. Bush
trademark, is diminishing.... The fall of radical foreign policy
represented by Rumsfeld suggests more wisdom and pragmatism in other
areas. Therefore, a less simplistic geopolitical view of Latin
America will perhaps gain space. That would involve a reevaluation
of Hugh Chvez's real importance."

3. "Winds Of America"

The lead editorial in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo (11/10)
remarked: "We have never doubted that the American democracy would
get out unharmed from the Bush era. The trial of those who took
advantage of September 11 to try to disfigure it began last Tuesday.
The ballots not only reinvigorated democratic institutions, but
confirmed the incomparable authenticity of the American democracy.
For the first time the House will be led by a woman, Nancy Pelosi.
For the first time the House's Budget Committee will be chaired by
an African-American, Charles Rangel. For the first time a WASP state
like Massachusetts will be governed by an African-American, Deval
Patrick. And for the first time the major Democratic candidates to
president are a woman, Senator Hillary Clinton, and an
African-American, Senator Barack Obama.... The winds of America are
blowing."
McMullen

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