Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Rationalization of Defeat
For an avowed NON-Mike Defensor fan like me, I considered his early concession as the best thing that he has done in recent months. However, I was honestly surprised of his defeat. Despite of his consistent 15th place survey ranking, I thought that a dash of media exposure and a pinch of celebrity endorsements could push him to the winners’ circle. Add to the suspicion that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will take care of his fair-haired boy.
Apparently, that is not the case.
A couple of days ago, I was cleaning a stack of old magazines, when I chanced upon an old Asiaweek issue. Its cover story: Leaders for the Millennium – Politics and Power. Along with Mar Roxas, Mike Defensor are the only Filipinos included in the list. It talked about his battle against dishonesty as well as his hope of changing the rotten political system in the Philippines. If he made these two thrusts as his main campaign points – then the ending would have been different. But considering his pro-GMA stance, it will still be in the realm of the impossible.
In her column, Rina Jimenez David, explained that aside from the preventing ‘acts inimical to democracy and fair play, Defensor may have been burned out. She could not also fathom his loss since the former Presidential Chief of Staff is young, earnest, well-meaning, and charming. She thinks that the only criticism that can be hurled to him like an apocalyptic meteor is his ‘extreme loyalty to the president.’
That is his fault – his close association with Arroyo. This could also explain the poor performance of Team Unity (TU)in general. The tremendous loyalty he has shown to the overstaying Malacanang resident is exemplified by his unforgettable clarification regarding the Hello Garci CD. Repeat after me: ‘it’s the president’s voice but it’s not her speaking.’
Yet this could and should not exclusively account for his misfortune. I promised a rationale.
If you are young, act like one.
Only a few senatorial winners are holders of senior citizen cards. It was evident that the electorate wanted young and vibrant blood to circulate in the Upper House. A few years back, Defensor was part of the Spice Boys – rival to the administration-leaning Bright Boys. It was Mike and not Chiz Escudero who charmed his way to the nation’s fickle political taste. Who would have thought that the Sorsogoanon will be enjoying a lofty position in the Magic 12? I must say that Defensor looked like an old and stodgy traditional politician all throughout the campaign period.
Plan campaign advertisements well.
How many were turned off by his ‘Tol commercials? Raise your hands. Assisted by a professional (Boy Abunda) and aided by a healthy campaign chest – I was expecting more. First, his ads are way too tacky. His posters are no better. Standing ‘Tol? Walking ‘Tol? Fighting ‘Tol? Second, the nickname is absolutely eyebrow-raising. ‘Tol’ only works for Robin Padilla. Third, his identity is too confusing. Based on his ads, he wants to project himself as an approachable man of the masses and a genuine savior of the homeless. Fellow TU stalwart Miguel Zubiri also suffers from campaign ad schizophrenia. Other candidates were able to establish a solid identity. Joker Arroyo is the People’s Dragon. Panfilo Lacson is the hope of the country. Mike Defensor is –uhmm – ‘Tol?! Plus we all know that he is not that tall.
Forget about his insignificant turn as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The question is how do you reconcile Mike Defensor the family man and Mike Defensor the Quezon Avenue prowler?
Believe in surveys.
If surveys say that you’ve been burning the 15th hole way too long – then chances are – you’re really freakin’ out of the winners’ circle. Do not malign the survey firms; instead do something about your performance. It is not blind faith if you utilize survey results – it’s called scientific campaign. Look at Sonny Trillanes. He never questioned his early peripheral rankings and kept on campaigning – his devoted followers anyway. It did wonders. Ignoring surveys is plain and simple denial. And we all know that ‘denial’ is not a river in Egypt.
His candidacy is not a waste of money – that is descriptive of Prospero Pichay’s. His latest debacle is more of mismanagement. His television ads have good concepts but its presentation screams mediocrity. Celebrity endorsements are acceptable but not Keana Reeves. Plus, I would really strangle myself (but not to death) if there is any grain of truth that his campaign color (pink) was decided by a Feng Shui expert.
Intense blame-storming will not do well. Let the guy rest and rethink his future. He is still young and he can always throw his hat in the political ring. I will still not vote for you but I will not discourage you if you wish to try again. The point of rationalizing one’s loss is personal education. The old wisdom ‘learn from mistakes’ is realized through careful reflection. If ever Mike Defensor runs in 2010, he should learn from his 2007 experience. If he really wants to win, then he should rethink his strategy. If he decides to campaign as early as tomorrow for the next elections…go ahead.