You know, living here in Romania, you’d think I’d be more interested in politics, politicians and what’s happening on the political scene. The truth though is that I really don’t care very much at all.
Frankly I’m not missing out on a whole lot. Just about all of the political players of any consequence are holdovers from the Communist era, a group of graying, balding white men who endlessly bicker amongst each other while living ensconced in a cloud of luxury far removed from the average citizen. In short, just like many other countries I could name.
Roughly speaking however there are three main factions in Romanian politics:
Socialist Democratic Mainstreamers – Deeply committed to integration with the rest of the European Union, fairly tolerant on cultural issues, a little more internationalist in outlook.
Conservative Mainstreamers – Focused a bit more on domestic issues, particularly government spending on public projects, otherwise a little more isolated in terms of mentality and advocating for keeping things more like they “used to be” rather than how others around the world are doing.
Wackos – Always a small percentage in terms of vote getting but there are ALWAYS a wide variety of fringe, extremist, nationalistic and plain old religious wackos circling the body politic in Romania. They make for good television and get the disenfranchised riled up but don’t actually have much power to do things (except further entrench the two mainstream groups).
Certainly on some issues I favor the approach of one of the mainstream groups over the other but by and large they are virtually the same. Romanian politics is a lengthy gab-fest with endless talking and not a whole lot of action ever getting done. It’s a slow-moving train wreck of colliding selfish interests, deal making and corruption combined with sometimes quite mystical rhetoric and bombastic jeremiads.
Let’s put it this way: if you like soap operas (telenovelas) then Romanian politics is for you.
On the other hand, the one name rarely, if ever mentioned, is the exceedingly creepy Mugur Isarescu (link in English).
Politicians and political appointments and offices switch quite often in Romania, something akin to a game of musical chairs. This guy however, Isarescu, is the one fixed star. I mean the guy has held his position as the head of the National Bank (think “Federal Reserve” if you’re American) ever since the end of the Communist era.
That is unbelievably extraordinary if you think about it. In a country where you need a scorecard and a pencil to keep track of who is the Prime Minister or the Education Minister on any given day, this guy has kept the same job for 20 years?? As Vizzini said in the Princess Bride, “Inconceivable!“.
Furthermore, Isarescu is a member of both the Club of Rome and the Trilateral Commission, hangs out with all the rest of the global elites and is the only (known) Romanian to attend the Bilderberg meetings. Gives me a shiver right down my spine just thinking about it.
At least 15 Romanians were killed in the genocidal clusterfucks in Iraq and Afghanistan. And for what?
For not much more than an empty promise to allow its citizens easier access to travel and living in the United States. That and the death-dealing IMF being “impressed” with the latest rounds of gouging the poorest citizens in this country.
Therefore my advice is ignore the Punch and Judy show being played out in the media and watch the only actor who matters, our kindly patrician, Mr. Mugur Isarescu.