ATHENS – The best political job in world has to be President of France, a real babe magnet, because it led super model Carla Bruni to cozy up to Nicolas “Pepe Le Pew” Sarkozy and a less-classier version, Julie Gayet, to pair up with his successor Francois Hollande, a sallow-looking frog-eyed little invertebrate who’d have to pay someone like her a thousand bucks for the night otherwise.
One of the worst has to be Mayor of Athens, because you preside over a city and really have relatively little power, are overshadowed constantly by a Prime Minister who’s just blocks down the street from the City Hall, have to deal with public workers who wouldn’t move if they had dynamite in their underwear, and are a target for nut jobs with imagined grievances.
On top of that, you oversee a cement gray city that looks filthy in the brightest summer sunlight, has little public art even though Ancient Greece created that idea of urban aesthetics, even less green space and the mayor has almost no say on anything.
The Prime Minister decides what will happen on almost anything that matters and the Mayor has to deal with a City Council that’s so obscure if you gave any Greek on the street one million guesses to name one of them they couldn’t.
Which brings up the question of why anyone would want the job, including the current office holder, Giorgos Kaminis, who was born in New York and since taking office five years ago has been assaulted by workers angry over pay cuts and barely missed taking a shot from Giorgos Germenis, a lawmaker of the super-duper-ultra-far-right (some even say neo-Nazi) extra-extremist Golden Dawn party, who reportedly had a gun.
Germenis has since been arrested, along with party chief Nikos “Little Adolf” Michaloliakos and four other Golden Dawn MP’s who are charged with running a criminal gang although it’s going to be hard to convince anyone these guys could run a hot dog stand.
The party’s spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, also an MP and arrested in the Samaras Sweep of Golden Dawn, is throwing his hat into the ring for the job next year and it must be a convertible fedora given the size of his head and the peanut-sized brain inside it.
For those who don’t know or remember, Kasidiaris is the surly little thug who slapped Liana Kanelli, a rather smart lawmaker from the KKE Communists who have so few of them.
That was on a live TV show where she was making him look like Howdy Doody when he talked so he resorted to what bullies do, even against women, and then ran away and hid for a couple of days so he couldn’t be arrested. There’s Mayoral timber for you right there.
There’s some precedent here as Michaloliakos had a seat on the City Council where one of his first orders of the day was to snap into a Heil Hitler salute faster than the Nazi played by Kenneth Mars in The Producers who wrote a play idolizing Hitler.
But it must be a reflex motion like Dr. Strangelove, Peter Seller’s character in the black comedy of the same name, which is what Athens would be if Kasidiaris, as unlikely as it seems, ever becomes its Mayor. What an illustrious day that would be for the city that withstood Persians and real Nazis only to fall to a cartoon caricature.
If elected – and if not convicted and jailed – Kasidiaris said he would use deserted buildings in the capital, currently occupied by illegal immigrants, to house homeless Greeks. Golden Dawn, which wants all immigrants deported, has also been accused of beating them, which it also denies despite witness accounts.
Golden Dawn is running third in surveys that show Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives have slipped to second behind the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and with the Premier’s coalition partners, the PASOK Socialists, barely above the three percent threshold needed to win seats in Parliament.
Golden Dawn rose from obscurity in 2009 when it garnered only 0.29 percent of the vote to gain 18 seats in Parliament in the 2012 elections when it got 6.97 percent of the vote, a figure it doubled before the murder of an anti-fascist hip-hop artist, Pavlos Fyssas, in September, 2013 by a party member and saw its popularity plummet before a recent rebound.
Golden Dawn ascended on the back of an anti-immigrant platform and opposition to harsh austerity measures the government has imposed on the orders of international lenders. It also has a stance that is anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-Capitalist – if you add womanizer you could get elected in France on that platform – and has pushed for prosecutions for blasphemy.
Golden Dawn denies any Nazi ties but members worship Hitler, Michaloliakos has had Mein Kampf in his headquarters, Nazi propaganda has been found during an investigation into the charges of running a criminal gang, and it uses the Nazi playbook on how to run a political party. This comes under the heading then that if it looks like a Nazi and goose-steps like a Nazi, it’s a Nazi.
But let’s wait until his announcement speech, which won’t be passed out to reporters because the party’s anti-spokesman doesn’t speak to reporters, probably because he has trouble getting through a single sentence coherently without spitting the bile of hate on his black shirt.
What’s scary is that polls show 10 percent of Greeks believe in people like this Profile in Cowardice and his gang that goes around beating immigrants, but only if the odds are 30-1 because otherwise they’d turn and run faster than the President of France galloping after a young model or starlet with stars in her eyes.