In Mexico, the leader in the polls could be even more hostile to the United States. The PRD's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has won wide popularity as mayor of Mexico City and is running on the platform of "the poor first." President Vicente Fox tried to have him declared ineligible, but backed down.
It's unclear how far Lopez Obrador would retreat from the market policies of Fox and his PRI predecessors Ernesto Zedillo and Carlos Salinas de Gortari. But Fox, with no pan majority in the Congreso, has been unable to open up the oil industry to foreign investment and has sharply criticized the Bush administration and Congress for not allowing easier immigration. Lopez Obrador and Roberto Madrazo, the PRI candidate with longtime ties to old machine politics, would most likely be even more critical. PAN candidate Felipe Calderon, from a different faction of the party than Fox, has been rising in polls, but might be critical, too.
So the prospect is for rhetorically hostile governments in our two neighbors. Even if Harper and Calderon win, they will probably lack legislative majorities, and they will have to deal with the chattering classes in Toronto's Rosedale and Mexico City's San Angel who, like their counterparts in Georgetown, reflexively oppose U.S. foreign policy and ooze with contempt for Bush.
Back around 1990, Canada's Brian Mulroney and Mexico's Salinas strengthened ties with the United States. Those days are gone. But neither country seems about to give up the economic benefits of NAFTA or to join Fidel Castro or Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. We might not like our neighbors' campaign rhetoric, but we can live with the results.
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