Why They Voted Socialist

Afraid of al Qaeda? It doesn’t look that way . . .

But interviews with scores of Spaniards of both parties indicated that a number of things happened after the attacks that shifted the balance to the Socialists. Voters flooded the polls on Sunday in record numbers, especially young people who had not planned to vote. In interviews, they said they did so not so much out of fear of terror as out of anger against a government they saw as increasingly authoritarian, arrogant and stubborn. The government, they said, mishandled the crisis in the emotional days after the attacks.

Voters said they were enraged not only by the government’s insistence that the Basque separatist group ETA was responsible, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, but they also resented its clumsy attempts to quell antigovernment sentiment.

For example, the main television channel TVE, which is state-owned, showed scant and selective scenes of antigovernment demonstrations on Saturday night, just as it ran very little coverage of the large demonstrations against the war in Iraq last year. It also suddenly changed its regular programming to air a documentary on the horrors of ETA.

That was the last straw for some Spaniards, who said it evoked the nightmare of censorship during the Franco dictatorship little more than a quarter of a century ago.

Meanwhile, within 24 hours of the terrorist attacks, the Socialists, through their own intelligence and diplomatic contacts in the Muslim world, were already leaning toward the theory that Al Qaeda and not ETA was responsible, two senior Socialist Party officials said.

. . . from the NY Times.

So, it seems, the Socialist Party won because its opponents weren’t open and honest. Not a bad lesson. Anyone here listening?

What do you think?