HELP WANTED: Country seeks a Philosopher-King, a wise man or woman who has the common good at heart and not personal profit. Someone with the will to resist rich people who will try to buy them off or pressure them, a fearless vertebrate to stand up to special interests and whack job political parties and extremists. With an excellent background in Greek philosophy, egalitarianism and who can balance a checkbook to 12 figures, a modest humble person. Someone who can make executive decisions and eschews Doublespeak. Pay commensurate with experience, good health care program but no profit-sharing.
If only. Instead of that, Greece is saddled – after decades of professional politicians whose parties took turns plundering the treasury – with a spineless political schoolboy as Prime Minister and a Finance Minister who apparently spends more time on his blog and riding his motorcycle than his job.
Premier and Radical Way Out There Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who may have broken a record for broken promises in the fewest at bats, has as his sidekick in dealing with international lenders who’ve already eaten him for lunch, Yanis “Die Easy” Varoufakis as his finance chief.
Varoufakis, who preens more than a peacock and can’t pass a mirror without checking to see if he’s handsomer than the day before, or so he thinks, now is charged with giving advice on how to run a country without any money.
His answer? “Constructive ambiguity,” which is his way of explaining why he’s fine with the vague language in alleged reforms Greece presented to the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB), which he calls “The Institutions” so he won’t have to explain why the people he said he and Tsipras would never negotiate with beat them down like a Nun with a ruler.
Tsipras and Varoufakis must practice speaking out of both sides of their mouths at the same time they have both feet in them, and instead of taking a Trumanesque stance have signs on their desks saying, “The Euro Stops Somewhere Else.”
Most everyone who can add to 325 billion understood that Tsipras was lying through his teeth more than George Papandreou, the former PASOK Anti-Socialist did when he said, “The money is there,” so he could be elected Captain of the Titanic in 2009.
He lasted little more than two years, which will be a lot longer than Tsipras will if he lies again and accepts a third bailout from the Troika along with more of the austerity he vowed to reject.
But Tsipras and Varoufakis now are practicing constructive ambiguity in a shallow, transparent attempt to fool people, and, voters being who they are, it has worked of course because the government had a 76 percent approval rating in an initial survey after being humiliated by the Troika.
Tsipras said he wouldn’t talk to the Troika. He did. Troika leads, 1-0. Tsipras said he wouldn’t accept a bailout extension to the two rescue packages of 240 billion euros ($272.5 billion) The Troika put up? He did. Troika leads, 2-0. Tsipras said he’d get debt relief or walk away from half the debt? He didn’t. Troika wins 3-Love.
But Tsipras said he won and a lot of his zealots believed him, except for a hero, a real man who knows the truth, World War II hero Manolis Glezos, a Member of the European Parliament for SYRIZA who said the party had betrayed itself and its voters and apologized.
Glezos doesn’t speak Constructive Ambiguity so in a disgraceful attempt to discredit him for speaking The Plain Truth, the government put out a press release that he didn’t understand how tough the negotiations were.
They said that about a man who, with his friend the late Apostolos Santas, climbed the flagpole of the Acropolis in 1941 and tore down the Swastika while Nazis with machine guns weren’t far away. Now THAT’s tough.
What makes Tsipras more despicable is that while there was no choice for him but to go along with the Troika program, he positioned himself as the Champion of the People and, after buckling, tried to portray himself as their hero. That position is already taken by Glezos.
After spending a couple of years assailing New Democracy Capitalist leader Antonis Samaras, and the party as having submitted to the Troika, Tsipras did exactly the same, much the same way that US President Barack Obama followed the steps in the snow of George W. Bush on so many issues.
And, in line with his Constructive Ambiguity, Tsipras gave Greece as President a New Democracy lackey named Prokopis Pavlopoulos, charged with directing the hiring of literally thousands of needless workers when he was a Minster of Silly Hiring or whatever useless job he held.
For that practice, and others, Tsipras said New Democracy was gutless but, for political expediency, said Pavlopoulos was a king of democracy, pure constructive ambiguity that’s worthy of the inanities that come out of Varoufakis’ mouth and are so unintelligible they could be taught at Diplomacy School.
What Greece needs is a man or woman who would stand up and tell it like it is, no matter how distasteful or painful, who would say the road is tough and everyone – everyone – is going to help or sacrifice together or go down together. That’s the Plain Truth.