Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pointless thoughts while listening to Steve Earle:

You guys ought to check out the music clips I link to. It's all good stuff.

Today is the "day of reflection" before the Catalan regional election, when all campaigning is suspended. My guess is that Mas has run the best campaign and will win the most seats, but then what? He won't have an absolute majority. Some kind of pact will have to be made. Mas has already sworn he won't make a deal with the PP. Saura has sworn that his Initiative (Commie) party will not make a deal with Mas's CiU. That leaves only the national socialist Republican Left (ERC), whose irresponsibility dynamited the former Tripartite regional government (Generalitat of Catalonia) led by Pasqual Maragall, or a grand coalition between CiU and Jose Montilla's Socialists.

So can Montilla form a government without CiU? It would have to be a repeat of the Tripartite, and that wouldn't last long, since the Tripartite split over the Catalan statute of autonomy (in US terms, state constitution), and ERC is terminally irresponsible and cannot be trusted. And the Socialists and Commies alone aren't going to get enough votes for a majority. The answer is no.

That's Iberian Notes's official prediction for tomorrow night, when we'll be liveblogging the election returns: a CiU-PSC coalition, "Sociovergencia." This is the government that the surveys say most citizens would prefer; it would be a moderate government, rather social democratic, but we can live with that. The Socialists, most of whose supporters are Spanish speakers from the Barcelona industrial suburbs, will keep the Catalan nationalists of CiU more or less under control. Good. I'd prefer more of a free-market and decentralized system, of course, and that's the long-term trend, but in the short run we can live with a "business as usual" government.

Mas, as the larger vote getter, would get to be premier, but Montilla would demand the cabinet chief of staff ("conseller en cap") position and several juicy portfolios for his PSC.

Most interesting campaign note: All the candidates' wives except for Pique's discussed their intimate sex lives openly, starting with Saura's life-partner, Chemical Inma Mayol, the top Commie in the Barcelona city council, who informed us that Saura was tender and adventurous, or something like that, in matters regarding l'amour. Carod's wife had the best comeback; she said that she and Carod were great in the sack because they practiced a lot.

This is actually a great idea for the US; I think all candidates' wives or husbands should be obliged to report on their favorite acts of copulation and/or sodomy in detail. Jeez. Imagine Hillary Clinton discussing her sex life with Bill. That might be very dull. But, hey, since Hillary's the candidate this time, Bill would be the one questioned: "Well, actually, Oprah, she's an ice-cold frigid SS-guard bitch who won't give me head. But then again, so are you." Condoleezza Rice might also present a problem here. And I don't think Dick Cheney gets to have sex anymore, because he might have another heart attack and pull a Nelson Rockefeller on us.

Zap was the keynote speaker at Montilla's final campaign rally and called Montilla "the Lula of Catalonia." I dunno. Lula won his election, while Montilla is going to lose his. Neither one has a university degree, which Xavier Sala i Martin managed to get under Montilla's skin about.

Meanwhile, Mas went to the Ripoll monastery, sanctuary of the most atavistic Catalan racial feelings, and burst into tears while paying homage to "the ancient Catalan nation," which I believe is a necessary formality for any nationalist candidate. I don't think Mas takes this rhetoric too seriously, even though his speech was titled, "A declaration of commitment to the people of Catalonia before the tomb of Wilfred the Hairy," Guifré el Pelós, the founder of Catalonia's first ruling dynasty back sometime around AD 986. That's pretty hardcore blood-and-soil nationalism, that is.

By the way, if you ever get a chance to go up to Ripoll, do it. There are several other interesting places in the area, including Sant Joan de les Abadesses and Nuria.

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