Enough. A striptease is only interesting when the dancer has real assets to bare, and there is the promise of a payoff by show’s end. When the dancer is skinny and bares nothing but some obligatory bumps and grinds, and then does nothing to hold audience interest, spectators doze off or get drunk, whichever comes first.
I think of the analogy as I watch Sen. Grace Poe’s agonizing strip show on her possible candidacy for president in the 2016 elections. While some in the media continue to report and analyze the slightest twist in her countenance, there are others who, like me, have grown weary of everyone’s public courtship of her and of her coquettish statements about maybe or maybe not plunging into the presidential race.
I no longer want to watch this show because Ms. Poe, I am convinced, will never come out to bare any facts or documents about her background and provenance. She will not take questions from serious journalists about the thoughts and pictures in her head, or her policy agenda if she formally runs for president and lucks into the presidency.
No defense against criticism
I think the striptease and the coquetry are deliberately designed to keep her in the news, and to sustain her survey ratings. If she meets with serious criticism, fine, she will at least remain in the public conversation.
But it is the lack of a defense against criticism that is precisely the problem dogging Ms. Poe today. When she and her lawyers and her chief of staff could offer no answer to the two-fisted questioning of her citizenship and her residency record by times columnist Kit Tatad and some notable law deans and law professors, the collective vacancy of mind was too much to ignore.
When I received no response whatever to my charge in one column that she has made a travesty of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano massacre by refusing to write and submit a committee report, I concluded that the lady is not ready for prime time. The attention of the public will shift elsewhere. Ms. Poe could become yesterday’s news.
Backers in media, business and politics
This is not to say that Grace does not have serious backers in the media, business and politics. She has, and it’s the reason why she is still news up to now.
I have learned from some people in the know that Ms.Poe’s now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t candidacy is being propped up by a well-funded early-days publicity effort, by the aggressive buying of favorable results in some surveys, and by the rumored commitment of certain business bigwigs with revealing initials (RR, RA, MV) who are determined to field her for president
All the talk about a huge campaign chest is strictly for acoustical warfare. The moment someone files a serious lawsuit to have Poe disqualified from sitting in the Senate, the money will start to dry up. The moment her certificate of candidacy for president is challenged with a suit for disqualification in October, it will begin to dawn on her supposed backers that there is substance to the citizenship issue and the residency questions. There is no way that senator Poe can satisfy the Supreme Court that she possesses the eligibility requirements for the presidency, which are clearly spelled out in the constitution.
Faster than lightning, RR and company will scout for a different horse to ride, and adjust their mischief making, lest they face after the elections a victorious candidate who will seriously take them as political enemies.
Sen. Chiz Escudero, who apparently has been instrumental in getting Poe interested in the presidency by offering himself as her running mate, will not last the grind.
As Escudero’s problems with the looting of the budget and Senator Lacson’s expose unravels him as a “bantay-salakay” in the Senate, Chiz will fizzle out. If he turns out to be one of the billion-peso senator-porkers, it will be curtains for Escudero’s stint as chairman of the Senate finance committee.
The demand of senators Poe and Escudero that President Aquino should make a commitment to backing their candidacy is being treated as hilarious by members of the Liberal Party members and members of the media.
Here, they say, are two politicians who have been notoriously unable to keep their commitments and honor their responsibilities, and here they are demanding commitment. One to her commitment to the country of her alleged birth, and the country to which she pledged allegiance by naturalization. And the other to his vows of marriage.
For Poe and Escudero to demand commitment from a narcissist like BS Aquino is foolish, one psychiatrist says. A narcissist is loyal only to himself/herself.
Authenticity—bare your soul
There is one point that should not be lost. Whatever happens to their presidential pretensions, Escudero and Poe are assured of their place in the Senate up to 2019. Poe will only lose her seat if she is disqualified by the Senate Election Tribunal. Sen. Loren Legarda made a career of running for higher office and then retreating to the Senate to nurse her wounds.
Ms. Poe could remain viable and interesting as a possible candidate by turning her ongoing striptease into (1) a baring of the facts of her real identity, (2) a baring of who she really is as a person and what she really proposes to do for the nation should she seek higher office; and finally (3) a baring of her positions on key policy issues that are of high public importance today.
The other day, Ms Poe was quoted in the press as saying that she and Chiz Escudero are ditching their efforts to get the endorsement of Aquino in their bid for higher office.
So this is where the striptease and the courtship have come to – ambivalence, uncertainty, and the discarding of a potential benefactor (BS Aquino), who desperately needs a horse in the 2016 elections.