Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Puppets and the Ilk of Ilda

Prowling through a reread of Tom Clancy’s novel “Red Storm Rising”, I was struck by his description of the Russian power complex of the 1980’s. The Red empire was no longer run by an individual strong man like Stalin, but by committees and commissioners in which the President was mainly a public face, for his hands were tied by all the deals he struck to become the President. The country was actually run by whoever could muster the most support in the conference rooms of the influential.

Clancy’s most worthy observation was that the President’s power was constrained by all the compromises he had to make to become President.

It is a characterization that fits well in Philippine democracy where the driver is not public service but collectives of self-interest and power.

President Aquino is more puppet than master, making compromises to this influential group or that: the Catholic Church, big business oligarchs, military leaders, the US of A, public perception as measured by polls, family and personal friends.

Those who would criticize President Aquino’s goof-ups or flip-flops or weak decisions are wasting their energy. It would be wiser to criticize the influential forces that motivate him, or else band together with others to form a new influential force. You can shout all you want into the face of Elmer Snerd, but he is just a well-carved hunk of wood with a human’s hand in his back. The puppet himself is immune to criticism.

If you try to attack “Willing Willie” the person, you become water off the duck’s flamboyant back feathers. His super-sized Ego protects him. However, if you attack the influential forces behind him – the advertisers of the show – things happen. Willie’s Ego can’t defend against that.

The President of the Philippines is just a cog in the democratic machine. He is not the gas pedal or the brake or the steering wheel. As a cog, he is made of stout material, rust free. He is good for the Philippines.

Those who bluster in frustration and bludgeon the President with words fail to see how the system works. These critics are naïve’ and ineffective, the very same weaknesses they ascribe to President Aquino.

They would get more done by going after the puppeteers . . . the drivers . . . the influences behind the President. Given their self-proclaimed insight, these critics ought to have a better grasp of the dynamics that make the Philippine presidency what it is.

Even predecessor Arroyo bowed to the puppeteers: her husband, the Church, President Obama, and eventually a group of Senators who would not countenance her messing with the Constitution.

Critics of the President generally don’t have a clue about how to effect change in the Philippines. They are just flapping their gums in the wind, beating madly on a big windmill with small twigs, whistling Dixie in Georgia.


  1. It took a foreign multi-national for Filipino to learn it was child abuse. Senior abuse serially happened when WoWoWieee was still with ABS-CBN. Not one raised a furor. More so those sexy, skimpily clad girls gyrating in front of noon-time show. Not one is complaining because all TV networks are doing it.

    They picked on Willing Willie because he is sucking viewership away from other networks mostly from ABS-CBN.

    Of course, it was emotional abuse on the child. The parents were clappity-clapping. The parents were proud. The parents taught their 6-year-old child the macho-dance. The parents shone when their child starred in Willing Willie. The ratings went up! Competing networks were fuming.

    They must have called the multi-nationals.

  2. The multi-nationals should also look into skin-color discrimination. Because they are very effective to have defined what is child abuse. They are still missing the Senior Elderly Abuse. Wait until Willing Willie rating goes up for abuse the elderly and the seniors ...

  3. Criticizing the influential forces behind benign0 and benign0 himself will scream back: ING-GIT LANG KAYO !!!

    Most of all they are impervious to criticism. They have built enough thick skin.

  4. Well, I think you're right about him being a puppet, so the question is do the puppeteers have the best interests of the country in mind? I don't think so, which is why I don't think this particular puppet is "good for the country".

    And besides, most of those puppeteers are sharper businessmen than either you or I, and certainly more so than their puppet -- you'd think they would have told him not to cut down his own staff in public.

  5. And I should also point out that rejecting the puppet is a good way to tell the puppeteers we ain't buying their act. Silly Willie is a good example; it's not really about him, and I'm sure he personally has enough money and a thick enough skin not to give a damn what we think. He was the lightning rod, but who did the nasty electrical shock really hurt? I doubt all those advertisers pay their invoices directly to him.

    At least with Noynoy, there's always the chance that the unending criticism will finally get to him and he'll shape up and tell his handlers where they can get off. Unlikely, I think, but evidently he is still able to elicit a great deal of sympathetic goodwill from the people; he should put it to use before it all evaporates.

  6. Ben,

    President Aquino is inexperienced at hard core leadership. That is not a failing, it is a reflection of his lackluster life before getting elected. He'll be better at the end of his term than he is now. Same as Obama, who committed his share of goofs.

    I am also troubled when Republicans classify Obama as a "weak president" because I think that weakens the president more, and I prefer a strong president. I would prefer they simply criticize his decisions, and not his character.

    Also, in the case of wartime decisions, the tradition is to support the commander in chief. Which the Republicans did not do in the case of Lybia. They went into political attack mode.

    Relentless charges of "weak, incompetent, bozo" - the character charges - help make the office of the president weak. I personally don't like it.

    Y'all are, of course, free to whack away to get whatever gains you think you get from it.

    The speech toss was such a minor issue. It has been made to seem like he decided to invade Iraq or something.


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