“Do you now represent anyone’s cause but your own?”
“Everything done will be justified by my foundation.*”
(*You’ll get that if you catch the vid at the very end, And The Money Kept Rolling In and Out.)
Those aren’t lines from the DemoLib debate stage. It’s a question from Antonio Banderas to Madonna, straight out of Evita (1996).
Finally saw Evita the other day. (We’re pretty quick around here.) Thought we’d stumbled into a Shrillary or Senator Santa Claus pep rally. Or that Evita threw in “free college” when she and hubby were spending other people’s money like a drunken sailor on shore leave. All in the name of “the people,” of course.
That’s right, friends. Hill-ita, Bern-ito and the Libistas aren’t anything new.
A quick refresher: The movie is based on the 1976 stage version chronicling the life of Eva Duarte. Born into poverty, Eva became a B-picture actress and then the charismatic First Lady of Argentina when her husband, Juan Peron, was elected president in 1946. Evita rose in power and popularity to become the most beloved and most hated woman in Argentina. Evita died in 1952 from cancer. She was 33.
Still with me? Good. Now, keep those DemoLib stump speeches in mind. Then check this out:
- Evita was a powerful force within the pro-Peronist trade unions, primarily for speaking on behalf of labor rights.
- She ran the Ministries of Labor and Health.
- She founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation, essentially replacing private charities with government aid programs.
- She championed women’s suffrage in Argentina.
- Evita founded and ran the nation’s first large-scale female political party, the Female Peronist Party.
- In 1951, Eva Perón announced her candidacy for the Peronist nomination for the office of Vice President of Argentina. She eventually withdrew.
You didn’t really think Hillary, Bernie, Debbie Wassermann-Schultz & Co. were original, did you?
Yea, verily. Trying to define Peronism is like nailing Jell-o to a tree. In general, its pillars are social justice, economic independence, and political sovereignty. It’s somewhere between capitalism and communism but rejects both. Many observers and biographers place Peron in the corporate nationalism camp.
Some measures introduced by Perón’s governments. Any of this sound familiar?:
- Social security was made universal.
- Free education to all who qualified.
- Working students were given one paid week before every major examination.
- Vast low-income housing projects were created.
- Paid vacations became standard.
- All workers (including white-collar employees) were guaranteed free medical care and half of their vacation-trip expenses.
- Expectant mothers received three paid months off prior to and after giving birth. (Source.)
Feel the Bern yet? Hill-ita version: The 60-Second Guide to How Hillary Clinton Could Impact Your Money.
One other thing. Peron nationalized just about everything.
Anyway, the Perons were hugely popular during their hey day, especially Evita. Right up until the part where she and Juan ran out of other people’s money. The Argentinian economy is still in shambles. (Juan Perón was overthrown in a military coup, the Revolución Libertadora, in 1955. A military dictatorship took over.)
A few words about the movie. With the exception of one catchy tune, it’s awful. If you don’t get musicals, it’s a slog and a half. If you do get musicals, it’s still a slog. If you can dredge up the patience of Job, however, Evita is worth the time. It could almost double as a DNC campaign ad.