The price of intellectuals

Andrei Marga did not resist at ICR. It is his second significant failure after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he resisted a humiliatingly short while, rapidly sacrificed for a political move that promoted a more discreet, but safest leader. Waiting for a long time the power which he missed during the rule of the D.A. Alliance, Marga seemed ready for anything. He had promptly defended the premier during the plagiarism row, even risking his credibility with hazardous and ridiculous statements. But ICR had enough consolation for the too rapidly sacked minister. But he started on the left foot, because he excessively assumed a highly politicised rhetoric. Unfortunately, the wish to take a distance from his predecessor and his team not once led him to aberrant or ridiculous moves. The conflict with prestigious public intellectuals was detrimental not only to him, but the governance.

This is the conclusion probably reached by the premier when he decided to give up his services. Victor Ponta eventually understood the importance of diplomacy. And this does not imply only a better relation with Angela Merkel, but also an efficient cultural presence. Seeing, for instance, that Romanian films continue being proposed in New York even without ICR, just as private initiative, some might wonder what the Romanian state can win with an aberrant cultural policy. Because the problem of the Marga epoch at ICR was that of options. “The pink pony” had more success (also due to the scandal) than some obsolete authors proposed at book salons, instead of rebellious stars. We can even wonder how will fare, in the post-Marga epoch, those hired as referents during this interval. The problem pertains to cultural strategy. The former chief of ICR, though a person that travelled a lot, embraced a surprisingly conservative vision of culture and how to promote it.
The problem is fundamental. To what measure can prestigious intellectuals support the governance? Their role cannot be neglected. PDL resisted beyond expectations also because of the support granted by certain intellectual voices that gave extra credibility to politicians otherwise lacking significant political achievements. They, too participated in artificially maintaining them alive, we might say. And PSD always had a deficit of image because “its intellectuals” were less convincing than those of their opponents.
Andrei Marga easily jumped boats and supported without complexes his former enemies. His failure evokes that of former minister Razvan Theodorescu, a longtime comrade of the social-democrats. Without an outstanding intellectual available, the premier preferred the variant of a career diplomat. Who probably will not skid on ice, like Marga, but will be more relaxed and will focus on efficient promotion strategies. Leaving politics to the backstage.
But Victor Ponta also relies on something else. He wants to improve his image in a broader sense. Getting rid of Marga he proves he is a more flexible politician than Crin Antonescu. The benefits can be big enough because in the future war with the Liberals the support of prestigious intellectuals can tip the scales. Didn’t Traian Basescu defeat Adrian Nastase posing into a former sailor that reads the ‘Levant’ by Mircea Cartarescu? And then posing in wise autocrat that calls for advice, offering them his plane, several high-profile intellectuals? With Lilian Zamfiroiu at the helm of ICR the re-approach to certain cultural personalities can restart with certain political benefits.

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