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No one can jump over his own shadow, Băsescu included
Cristian BANUTraian Băsescu has been trying to change for a while. The failure in the local election, for which he was (rather unfairly) blamed, made him adopt the wrong strategy. For him, I don’t think change is a solution—not even a sincere change, which is rather unlikely. A parallel with Ion Iliescu may help clarify this assumption.
Apparently, Ion Iliescu hasn’t changed since 1990. But in actual fact, there is a huge difference between today’s Iliescu and the man who called the miners to tear down not so much the “University Square,” but the offices of opposition parties and of independent newspapers. Ion Iliescu changed very slowly, alongside his electorate.
In contrast, Traian Băsescu’s changing “overnight” was not accompanied by a change of his electorate. Between 2004 and 2008, Romania has grown and changed a lot, and voters have other priorities today. But the political class remained within a closed circle, doing politics for the sake of politics. And since they ignore the electorate, the electorate has started to ignore them. The target of political parties thus shrank to their own fans and a relatively small number of onlookers.
Traian Băsescu’s mistake is that … he doesn’t understand what he did wrong. It is not his attitude or rhetoric that he must change. Most of his voters voted for him precisely because he is “unruly,” popular and atypical. His very rudeness has its fans. It is not by changing his “form” that Traian Băsescu can win back the voters he has lost, because, although over-publicised, it was not the form that drove them away.
The failures of Traian Băsescu’s politics
When you ask for a reform of the political class, but your offer boils down to has-beens like Stolojan, to “dad’s girl,” Onaca, Mitică Dragomir or Mona Muscă and other political migrants, when you encourage servility and like being sucked up to, when the fight against corruption means counting Năstase’s double-glazed windows, and anti-corruption indictments are so poorly drawn up that even a law school freshman can overrule them, it’s only natural for the sham to be exposed for what it is. And the solution is not to turn into a “nice guy,” but to show some results!
A “nice” Traian Băsescu is no longer interesting, and without the “madness” and “scandal,” his core electorate will change preferences, without the “makeover” winning him any new voters instead. Obviously, judging by the electoral scores of the other two “madmen,” Vadim Tudor and Gigi Becali, one might conclude that the time of madness in politics has gone. But “reinventing oneself” is not a solution. If it is to succeed, it needs results. And results are not enough to guarantee success. In 2004, Traian Băsescu was the future, the hope... Today he is the past and disenchantment.
A strategic error
In political terms, although he still has a major institutional role to play – nominating the prime minister after the general election – I believe Traian Băsescu has used up his potential and stands no chance to be re-elected. Indeed, the polarisation for or against him has lost its strength, and local elections have proved that simply standing up for or against the President is no longer enough, when a party lacks a sound offer. The President should turn from “big daddy” to “primus inter pares,” which is rather hard to do when his key electorate wants him as a “big daddy.” The very fact that Traian Băsescu is only left with institutional tools to influence the political arena substantially reduces his room for manoeuvre, since he is not “cut out” to institutional activity. Moreover, through the right measures, the institutional advantage may be countered by administrative means, which his opponents have proved to master.
On the other hand, taking debates to a political level didn’t work in the local elections. In Bucharest, Blaga would have stood a chance against Oprescu, had he kept debates in the institutional field. But when political topics were brought up, he couldn’t handle Oprescu.
For this autumn’s general election, the President seems to be preparing political topics again, and political topics are bound to be the same: corruption, Năstase, the 322. Tăriceanu on the other hand has put on his rubber boots and travels around the country, just as Traian Băsescu did four years ago. “Listen, brother, let me see the blueprint for this work” is a lot more efficient than the never-ending dispute over Năstase’s windows, particularly since this is something new for Tăriceanu.
Ion Iliescu and Traian Băsescu
Traian Băsescu and Ion Iliescu have a lot in common. In terms of “political biology,” they are both what we could define as “the first generation of post-communist leaders,” in spite of the significant age difference between them. They have both ended up ill-equipped for a political game which has been transferred from the realm of emotions to the realm of pragmatism. Both have kept a firm hold on their respective parties, but failed to provide efficient political management and any vision other than the military/communist apparatchik paternalism.
Although closer to him in terms of age, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu and Mircea Geoană or indeed Adrian Năstase are members of another generation, even though the latter is very similar to Ion Iliescu in all respects. None of them mattered in the political game, but all of them have performed well in administrative terms. Adrian Năstase and Călin Popescu Tăriceanu did so both as prime ministers (economic growth, administrative efficiency) and as party managers. Mircea Geoană, although everybody’s favourite laughing stock, kept PSD at a score above expectations; he managed to place the party on an upward trend after the 2004-2005 media campaign against it and to preserve the unity of the Social Democratic federation (because today’s PSD is no longer a party, but rather a federation of groups).
Traian Băsescu’s options
The President and his party are in for problems: PD is isolated in the political arena and doesn’t seem able to do better that 25%, although polls continue to see it at about 40%. In practical terms, the President can’t nominate a minority government, which would entail endless scandals and would make his re-election highly unlikely, with the next president free to nominate a new government; nominating a PNL-PSD cabinet would also make his re-election unlikely, because he has already proved that he cannot work with a government of another political complexion, on the one hand, and that he can’t be trusted to act “responsibly” on the other hand. The “slip of tongue” targeting the Liberal Minister Cristian David was yet another case in point.
Nor is the option of resigning and “running” for premiership any more feasible; in this case, the decision on the new premier would rest with Nicolae Văcăroiu, who will probably nominate someone else as premier.
And since the cooperation with PSD is out of the question, Traian Băsescu only has one option left: an alliance with PNL and the nomination of Călin Popescu Tăriceanu as prime minister, with the party ratio in the new government to be calculated against the election score (1:1, most likely).
I believe politician Traian Băsescu has no other choice than to do what Ion Iliescu has done: accept a symbolic position in the party. He is vital to PD, there is no doubt about it, but at present I think he is a burden rather than a solution. The Democrats remain the only party controlled by a leader, the only party yet to reform itself. The shift of the battle into the institutional-administrative realm requires a new type of leader for the Democrats, instead of merely rehashing Traian Băsescu.
By Cristian BANU
Publicat în : English de la numărul 59
Revolutia din decembrie 89: Pacatul originar, sacrificiul fondator este prima carte dintr-o serie de sapte volume dedicate ultimelor doua decenii din istoria României. Nu am pretentia ca sunt detinatorul unui adevar politic, juridic sau istoric incontestabil, si sunt gata sa discut si sa accept orice documente, fapte sau marturii care pot lumina mai bine sau chiar altfel realitatea. Educatia mea stiintifica si religioasa m-a ajutat sa cercetez faptele în mod obiectiv, eliberat de ura sau intoleranta. Recunosc însa o anume încrâncenare în ceea ce am scris venita din durerea unui om care a trait în miezul evenimentelor si se simte lovit de acceptarea cinica a crimelor, abuzurilor, coruptiei si minciunii, sau de indiferenta la fel de cinica cu care sunt înca privite de catre o mare parte a societatii românesti.... Am scris aceste carti de pe pozitia victimelor mintite sau speriate, care nu-si cunosc sau nu-si pot apara drepturile. Le-am scris de pe pozitia milioanelor de români cinstiti care cred în adevar, în dreptate si în demnitate. Emil Constantinescu (text preluat din Introducerea cartii).
MINTEA CEA SOCOTITOARE
de academician Mircea Malita, Editura Academiei Române, 2009 În volumul de eseuri Mintea cea socotitoare, aparut la Editura Academiei Române, acad. Mircea Malita formuleaza în crescendo o serie de întrebari grave ale timpului nostru: Daca omul este rational, de ce se fac atâtea greseli în economie
sau în politica?; Daca rationalitatea nu e de ajuns, care ar fi rolul întelepciunii?; Din viitorul imprevizibil putem smulge portiuni, daca nu certe, cel putin probabile?; Ce si cum învatam pregatindu-ne pentru viitorul nostru?; Este în stare omenirea sa îsi vindece crizele?; Ne asteapta oare un dezastru final? s.a. De-a lungul anilor, acad. Mircea Malita a staruit asupra acestor teme în lucrari recunoscute, însa acum o face raportându-se la dinamica realitatii imediate, inspirat de cuvintele lui Dimitrie Cantemir: socoteala mintii mele, lumina dinlauntrul capului. Eseurile sunt structurate pe patru parti - Mintea senina, Metaforele mintii, Mintea învolburata si Privind înainte. Finalul este de un optimism lucid care tine seama de potentialul de rationalitate si imaginatie al mintii umane si, fireste, de generatiile tinere care îl pot valoriza benefic.
Această carte de poezie este seismograful de mare sensibilitate care înregistrează cele două întâlniri ale sufletului, deopotrivă cu URÂTUL care ne schilodește ca ființă, ca neam, dar și cu FRUMUSEȚEA sufletească nepoluată ce stă ca o fântână cu apă curată pe un câmp plin cu peturi și gunoaie nedegradabile. Ce poate fi mai dureros decât să surprinzi această fibră distrusă de aluviunile istorice încărcate de lașități, inerții, apatii, compromisuri devenite congenitale ale românului? Vibrația versurilor, directețea lor, simplitatea dusă până în marginea cotidianului paradoxal n-au efect distructiv asupra tonusului moral al cititorului, ci produc neliniștea cea bună, cum ar spune Sfinții Părinți. Citești în revolta și durerea poetei un mănunchi admirabil de calități: o demnitate neînfrântă, o fiziologie a verticalității și, mai ales, o inimă creștină, o inimă din ceruri, cum ar spune poetul latin. Căci, în această inimă din ceruri, există lacrimi deopotrivă pentru românul umilit, distrus până și-n visele lui, dar și pentru copilul din Gaza, cu sufletul și trupul chircite sub șenilele tancurilor unui război ce tinde să devină mai lung decât viața lui, ale unui război-viață, lacrimi pentru copilul evreu ce nu a putut fi salvat de la deportarea bestială, lacrimi pentru Tibetul sfâșiat. Și toate acestea fără impostura unui ecumenism sentimental, ci izvorâte din acel suspin curat românesc ce face esența lacrimii creștine. (Dan Puric)
ISLAMUL SI SOARTA LUMII - Fundamentalismul islamic ca ideologie politica de Virginia Mircea "Islamul si soarta lumii - Fundamendamentalismul ca ideologie politca invita la o reflectie mai adanca asupra porceselor lumii contemporane. Judecata critica si independenta a autoarei a produs o lucrare de o veritabila investigatie stiintifica, exact la momentul in care tema tratata deseori fara solutii si perspective ocupa scena din fata a politicii si problemelor mondiale. Cititorii o pot aseza cu satisfactie in bliblioteca lor de referinta. Vor fi mult ajutati in intelegerea evenimentelor care ne sesizeaza in prezent si intr-un viitor in care tema nu se va desprinde de mersul lumii contemporane." (academician Mircea Malita)