Strategies of silence and retreat

For a political leader, not appearing in public can mean:

1. You hate attention.  You are a recluse, like Thomas Pynchon or J.D. Salinger.

2. You are countersignalling.  Your political position (or health) is so secure that you don’t need to show your face.  Was Reagan at times an example?

3. Sheer random noise.  Maybe you are playing chess and haven’t given it much thought.

4. You are dead or dying.

5. Someone else is in charge, and they have yet to figure out the correct message.  Or groups of agents are fighting for control and no one is staging the appearances one way or the other.

6. No one is in charge, and everyone is afraid to appear to be in charge, for fear that the sick guy will recover and come back and squash them.

7. One guy used to run PR, and until he gets better everyone else is clueless and paralyzed.

We can rule out #1, #2, and #3.  Right now I will bet on some mix of #6 and #7.  But is there any point at which the sheer passage of time should push us to believe in #4 and #5?  Note that Raul has not shown his face either.  Are there alternative hypotheses?  The desire for a grand reentrance?  After all, a growing number of Cuban officials are talking of Castro’s return


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