“Those are my principles, if you don’t like them… well, I have others,” Groucho Marx famously said at some point in history.
That quote could very well be applied to Argentine politicians, as most of them have changed their (at least public) views depending on the direction in which public opinion is heading, or what they consider will help them score more political points.
But perhaps no one has flip-flopped more in the past years than former Vice President and Governor of the Buenos Aires Province Daniel Scioli.
Currently a national deputy representing the Frente para la Victoria (FpV), Scioli has been trying to reinvent himself ever since he lost the 2015 presidential election against Mauricio Macri. And boy, has he “evolved” when it comes to abortion, considering he just made a U-turn and hinted in an interview with Infobae that now he might not be against it after all.
Yes, people. This is the same Scioli who claimed to be a devoted Catholic not a long time ago and who, while on the campaign trail, finished every single of his remarks with the catchphrase “with faith and hope” (con fe y esperanza).
Oh, and the same one who in an interview in 2015 expressly said he was against decriminalization.
“Everyone is in favor of life. The issue here is to be in favor with a proper sexual education and healthcare, and be honest about a situation that is clearly bringing several consequences in different camps. And when you look at the countries that have moved forward to implement decriminalization, you see that child-maternal mortality rates have dropped sharply. It is an extremely interesting debate that is going on at the moment, and that is the reflection I can make about it,” Scioli said.
Opportunistic? Perhaps, given the fact that the debate about decriminalization has taken over the Argentine conversation by storm in the past weeks. Ideological evolution? Also a possibility, considering the issue knocked on his door not a long time ago.
In May last year, a jubilant Scioli announced he would become a father at the age of 60 as his ex, Gisela Berger, was pregnant. However, immediately after he broke the news, Berger came out to call him a hypocrite, claiming he had in fact privately hinted that he wanted her to have an abortion.
“Now he wants to form the perfect family when, had it not been for me, [the baby] wouldn’t exist… he wanted me to have an abortion,” Berger said at the time.
“When I found out I was pregnant I told him about it and his reaction was ‘No. This is a mess! This is a mess! Isn’t there anything we can do?’,” she added. “Anything we can do” is, of course, dog whistle for you-know-what.
- Read more: Former Presidential Candidate Daniel Scioli Embroiled In Scandal Involving Racy Photos, Cheating Allegations And A Surprise Pregnancy
Predictably, her revelation ruined Scioli’s plan to make a huge announcement to the public, and the perceived hypocrisy led him to disappear from the public eye for a while.
If the bill introduced by the campaign for free, legal, and safe abortion – which will hit Congress in early April – makes it to the floor of the Lower House, Scioli will have the chance to show where he really stands.
We will very much be expecting that moment.
With hope. And faith.