“You are at the North Pole and you have to sell a pink elephant to an Eskimo. How do you do it? With the right attitude. This is how we have to do it too” – Catalin Predoiu (photo)
The interesting proof of political wittiness coming from the current deputy of PDL’s leader took place on Saturday, on the occasion of the new PNL’s presence at the League of Local Electees meeting.
Visibly irritated by the humorous imprudence of her political merger counterpart, Alina Gorghiu retorted in turn: “I’m not selling pink elephants at the Pole, along with Vasile Blaga I am ruling a party with an attitude. I have one thing to tell you. After June 5, on 6 June 2016, so many of you will be mayors, deputy mayors, county council chairmen, that we will have to reinvent the concept of Opposition in Romania.”
With or without pink elephants as electoral bait, this mishmash with obvious touches of acidity and snubs that the Democrat Liberals feel they owe it to apply, directly and indirectly, to the image and the situation their political colleagues and allies the Liberals find themselves in, comes to abundantly underscore, once again if needed, how things stand beyond any image or slogan, appearance of or trend toward merger, alliance and agreements that the Romanian Right has been experiencing for some time.
Yes, there is an essence of truth in this entire story about the attitude that every politician has to have when he decides to sell, electorally and politically, pink elephants, blue panthers or multi-coloured soap bubbles to any part of the electorate he has in sight.
And this not only during an elections year but especially throughout the whole path he has to follow and one which, in politics, one could obviously not follow unless one has a proper attitude and in particular the attitude of a strong person, of a leader.
However, to clarify as best as possible the story that Catalin Predoiu saw fit to bring up in the form of a joke, and the attitude that Alina Gorghiu has toward Mr. Predoiu’s jokes and attitude, I will go back in time and stop first at a fairly distant but extremely suggestive moment for what this merger between PDL and PNL is now sought to be, and for what the current Right’s confrontation with the “personal political attitude” but also with the “Left’s mirroring” in fact means. The year 2004 and the attitude that Traian Basescu and PDL had back then in relation to Adrian Nastase and PSD.
In 2004, Traian Basescu was rapidly rising in the state’s key power zone through the election campaign of that year and through… the ATTITUDE that the new political revelation, and not long thereafter the new political star in the person of the future president-player, was to have in his relation with the leader of the left wing at that moment – Adrian Nastase.
Because, after 11 years in which Romanians had had enough of the ultra-aristocratic, exclusivist and full of arrogance attitude of the one who knew himself to be in control of a situation that was offered to him on a golden platter by a party and a political power unequalled at that moment, Adrian Nastase found himself face to face, at the height of the elections campaign and at the rarefied peak of power, with an opponent whose attitude turned out to be exactly the one that Romanians had been waiting for from a political leader for well over a decade – popularity brought to power and crowned abundantly by complete detachment from failure, rounded off with total self-assurance, leaning toward familiarity and empathy with the emotional element of the masses and with the people’s need to sit above the salt through their representative leader.
From “dear Stolo,” said in a voice choking back tears and with the head slumped in a sign of sincere regret for the friend and political ally that had just made a kamikaze-like sacrifice in front of the video cameras and of a country gripped by political effervescence, going through the flaming invitation “see you at the impalement poles, in Victoriei Square,” and reaching the apotheosis at the height of the elections debate in which millions of Romanians watched live, with baited breath, one of the most spectacular and incandescent moments in the post-Revolution political arena at the time, when, in an almost mystical moment of rhetoric, Traian Basescu wondered as if for the 20 million Romanians watching him at that moment – “What curse could there be on these people that they eventually ended up choosing between two former communists?” – this whole political path, worthy of a veritable hero of ancient odysseys of battle and victory, fundamentally changed and rewrote the definition and paradigm of ATTITUDE in politics, a definition that now seems almost completely lost under the rack and ruin of collective memory.
Back then, just as now, the Left pushed the Right to the limits of its existence, giving birth to a new model of national political leader.
Back then, just as now, the Left’s power was replaced through an attitude transfer.
Adrian Nastase’s attitude toward the masses represented their veto in favour of Traian Basescu’s attitude.
The only difference between the political actors and political parties of 2004 and the political actors and parties of 2016, the one that definitively and irreconcilably separates the two moments and their true political and electoral possibilities, is given precisely by this attitude that is now only talked of.
After accepting the PC in government as “immoral solution,” and forming the electoral alliance between PD and PNL, which immediately afterward became the D.A. Alliance, Traian Basescu prepared to give one of the longest lessons in political attitude since 1989.
The one in which PNL was showed that, regardless of its pretentions of “historical party” and the its academic emanations, a political party needs the attitude of a leader that would take (or not) power to the rank of absolute governance and would empower the party’s whole machinery for struggle and survival, perpetuating it beyond any war, any more or less fratricidal and onerous, circumstantial and anachronistic alliance.
Turning to the present moment, when we are getting ready to watch the start of the first stage of the elections campaign, what can be said in a few words about the current PDL-PNL carnival chariot, rebranded as the new PNL (as it were, the new historical PNL resulting from the devastating tides and compromises of history and time), is not only that one can easily notice that there is a chronic lack of pro-winning and pro-control attitude on the part of the Liberals in regard to what now represents only a crumb of the glory and power of PDL, but, especially, there is irrefutable proof that the Right’s Liberal wing is in a definitive decline and in a definitive atrophy that will end – how else? – just as it ended throughout the last two decades: through the assimilation of the Liberals by any side of the power and governance factor.
Whatever the Liberal attitude is at this moment, all electoral-political calculations are in the red.
And faced with the political monolith of the Left, regardless of how flimsy and anachronistic or disavowed it could seem or it could be now for an electorate oversaturated with all that the political Left of the last decades means, the Liberals have to take into account a single and essential aspect –the mirroring political model of the organization, functioning and expression of the PDL political force in relation with PSD’s throughout time.
Because, even though this model and PDL’s image were overshadowed starting in 2010, when the same Traian Basescu completely rethought and reformed the partisan pawns strategy on the power map, creating a veritable “Trojan horse” right at the heart of its own power bastion – UNPR (a delay-action bomb that was to fully blow up the whole power line of Romanian political parties, programmed to the second and millimetre to self-destruct after it will have done its duty with a vengeance) –, the PDL hard core and heart are functioning as exactly and concisely as a Swiss watch’s mechanism. And the effects of this imperturbable and exact mechanism will make themselves felt in the following campaign months.
Moreover, apart from the whole inherent ado from the courtyard of political parties, one that I believe Romanians have already gotten used to, especially during election years, what I believe it is worth watching and noticing remains the attitude that political leaders more or less visible on the current political scene have in the movements and moves they are indirectly making on the great power chessboard.
Why should we watch the acid, hilarious and extremely naïve broadsides or the political game, the alliances, mergers, coalitions and agreements that the children of the white and black kings’ courts form and play with in their kaleidoscopic and extremely volatile game, when, in fact, only by carefully watching Traian Basescu’s veiled attacks and withdrawals on the political stage and Liviu Dragnea’s ironic-condescending relaxation in relation to the Right’s desperate efforts to regroup and build up speed for another parliamentary or party round of the “heigh ho” type, represent the true imponderables that have the potential of solving the great political equation of the next 4 years?
I precisely recall, like in a moment of déjà-vu, something that took place almost similarly for the Liberals in 2014.
After the European Parliament elections of 2014, Crin Antonescu, PNL President up until then, and Vasile Blaga, PDL President, shockingly and unexpectedly announced their desire to merge. The announcement angered at the time PNL’s international partners – ALDE – whom PNL was leaving just a few days after it had run as representative of this European political family.
A large part of PNL and PDL members and voters showed at that moment their complete disapproval of and disappointment with this political move considered completely uninspired and definitively fatidic for what became a bit later the political destiny of PNL leader Crin Antonescu.
Back then, just as now, the bicephalous political mutation between PNL and PDL found its justification against the backdrop of the eternal fighting for survival and maintenance of a minimum power core in the face of PSD’s political mechanism that allegedly wanted a divided Right deprived of any trace of punch and importance in the power area.
Back then, the fighting between the two heads of the professed single political body led to the imminent and implacable sacrificing of the Liberal leader.
So, in conclusion, what could be the natural consequence of the continuation of this show, featuring political oddities and abnormal crossbreeding between the Liberal and Democrat Liberal genomes, for the stage we are about to enter come May?
And if we carefully and profoundly follow the thread of this story, accompanied by the threatening shadow of the Left and the unseen light emanating from the mushroom farm of quasi-parties and temporary electoral agreements, who or what will we find at the end of this thread, sitting with an attitude already well known by us all?
Sometime, a player can win the game more efficiently and rapidly from the position of spectator.