I always like to take the opposite viewpoint (play Devil’s Advocate) just to see if there is some kind of other way to look at things. And I’ve really been thinking a lot lately about the USL government that’s been in power May 7.
I said to myself, Self, imagine that Basescu is a demonic monster who needs to be removed from office. Let’s further imagine that all members of the PD-L are corrupt scumbags who have ruined this country. And let’s further imagine that the USL and its leaders have nothing but good in their hearts and all of their political ideas are fantastic. Even if I believed every single one of those things unequivocally, I’d still be angry as hell right simply because it offends me at how stupid they are.
The economy has been in bad shape for the last 3 years here in Romania. Austerity measures dictated by the IMF have been drastic and punishingly brutal for a lot of folks. Basescu’s earned a lot of criticism and dislike for his actions. Protestors in the street in January were earnest and sincere in demonstrating the public’s dissatisfaction. Using parliamentary tricks, the USL brought down the government and took the reigns of power on May 7. Assuming I think they’re visionaries and Romania’s last hope, this was the PERFECT chance to take the lead.
Local elections were already scheduled for June. The USL was expected to win and they did win. With a USL Prime Minister, a USL-controlled parliament in Bucharest and a strong network of affiliated USL mayors and governors throughout the country, they were in the driver’s seat. All they had to do was relax, get the legislation passed that they wanted, show the public that their way was the better way and then in November (or whenever in autumn) they could’ve coasted to an easy victory in the national elections. Keeping everything together, they could’ve had two solid years of governing the country and then in 2014, when Basescu’s term expired (and he’s prohibited from running for a third term), they could put their guy in the race and re-capture the presidency. Wham, bam, couldn’t be easier.
Instead, they went batshit insane. They appointed all sorts of criminal stoogies, cronies and incompetent hacks simply based on party loyalty. They began to foam at the mouth like rabid dogs, allowing their obsession with Basescu to drive their agenda. Instead of knocking off the weak players (Boldea, Codrut Marta, Blejnar, Udrea, etc) they immediately tackled Patapievici of the ICR. Colossal blunder! The guy has friends in 50 countries. He’s not going to go down fighting and of course he’s turned the tables completely.
Secondly, you don’t interfere with the Nastase case. Yes he’s your friend but you let him take the hit. You make sure he’s super comfortable in prison with lots of luxuries and plenty of visitors and in 8 months the guy is out of there anyway. But you let him do his trial, you let him get his sentence, and then you crow about what good and fair and impartial guys you are. The EU and foreign press would’ve loved that! It looks ESPECIALLY good on that old MCV and then maybe you get accession to the Schengen zone to brag about.
Third, you don’t nominate a bunch of dipshit ministers for your cabinet. You hire a few relative nobodies who won’t kick up a fuss and won’t embarrass you. Then you relax and be cool until the national elections and THEN you install your cronies. If one of your ministers gets caught out by the press, you fire the guy quick as you can and then you look like a saint, a fair and honorable group of leaders.
Fourth, christ on a crutch, you let the damn suspension of Basescu go until after the November elections! Make sure you’re riding into office with a huge mandate from the people before you go popping off referendums you very well could lose. Get the people voting for you before you get ’em to vote on your pet project.
Fifth, leave independent entities of the government the hell alone! Don’t you know the EU cares about these things? You don’t sack the Avocatul Poporului and replace him with your own stooge. You don’t play these stupid jackass games with the Monitorul Oficial and you definitely do not fuck with the courts. Yeah, the CCR is a bunch of bewigged farts who might not rule your way but so what? You bow and scrape and say “we respect their decision” and then you keep on drafting new laws until you get what you want. How difficult a concept is that to understand? Pissing off the EU is a bad move, son.
Sixth, do you not understand there is a free press now, both domestically and internationally? They are going to be on you like a pack of dogs on raw meat if you let them. The last thing you need to do, I mean the last thing you need to do is tell them they’re all a bunch of liars and everything they say is a lie and they made everything up. That just makes them mad as hell and come at you twice as hard. How fucking hard is it to understand that the way you treat the press is 1) give them as little “raw meat” (scandals) as possible and 2) wine them and dine them. Invite them over to your house for a barbeque! Give them exclusive interviews so they make you look good. When it’s a hot summer day give them fruit and water. Treat them like a beautiful woman on a first date and they’ll be GOOD to you. Insult them and say they’re lying is the last thing you want to do. Christ, haven’t you ever read a book on governance in your life?
Seventh, don’t fuck with the money! Haven’t you ever seen a movie about drug dealers? Never, ever fuck with the money. Don’t screw up the economy, don’t screw up the currency and don’t fuck up the finances. Keep the money flowing like sweet honey and you can get away with almost anything.
The person I really feel bad for is the honest Romanian out there who really DOES think the USL has some swell ideas. Because that person is counting on the USL to run the government. That person is counting on the USL to implement those ideas into new laws (and not bullshit “emergency decrees” every five minutes). The USL could have the best solid-gold political ideas in the history of the world but they’re seemingly too stupid to even get them implemented when they’re “governing” the damn country!
For that reason alone I wouldn’t vote for these clowns in a million years. I don’t just want them to agree with my ideas about how this country should be run, I want them to have the intelligence to actually implement them. That means having a coherent strategy and sticking to it (which, by the way, revenge is not a strategy). The cold hard truth is that these guys are only temporarily in charge simply because the PDL got so sloppy with the corruption and austerity bullshit that people were willing to accept anybody else.
Yep. The USL is nothing more than Romania’s sloppy seconds. And that right there is a real tragedy because the people deserve better.