Los caudillos son reyes plebeyos. Como los antiguos monarcas, entienden que su poder es vitalicio. Entonces, harán cualquier cosa para conservar ese poder o, por lo menos un espejismo de ese poder. Carlos Menem mostró estos días la cara más patética de ese modo de hacer política y entró furioso en su propio ocaso renunciando a ir a la segunda vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales argentinas. La primera la había ganado con el 24% de los votos; en la segunda iba a ser sepultado por el 70% de los votos, algo sin antecedentes en la historia argentina.

Es una paradoja instructiva: la atomización de los partidos políticos le permite ganar a un candidato a quien siete de cada diez argentinos rechaza.

También es instructivo el escándalo de la renuncia, desmentida durante días y finalmente anunciada en medio de un tumulto de guardaespaldas y simpatizantes llorosas, a quien el caudillo les besaba la mano en un despojado jardín, cerca del Trópico de Capricornio. La escena tenía mucho del realismo mágico. Este escándalo y aquella paradoja muestran el grado de crisis en que ha caído el sistema político argentino. La actitud dañina de Menem no hace otra cosa que agravar esa enfermedad.

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