Say what you want about the Cuckoo Left SYRIZA party of Prime Minister Alexis “U-Turn” Tsipras – they’re amateurs, bomb tossers, café philosophers, incompetent hacks, Che Guevara idolators, Ivory Tower academics, lefty loonies – they are flat out entertaining!
You’d have more fun watching paint dry than listening to former Premier and once-upon-a-time New Democracy Capitalist leader Antonis “Mr. Bean Counter” Samaras, who had to hustle just to be boring.
His predecessor, then-Premier and then-PASOK Anti-Socialist leader George “The Money is There” Papandreou’s advisers had to distribute No-Doz before his speeches and even that didn’t work. He could empty a room faster than a sneezing guy getting off a plane from West Africa wearing an I Have Ebola T-shirt.
Tsipras and his fellow comrades must have seen every Marx Brothers film twice because they’re just as whacky, if not as lovable. Watching Tsipras try to govern and trying to keep control of his motley crew of Communists, anarchists, Maoists, Stalinists, Leninists, activists, and Trotskyites is like watching a drunk corralling a herd of screeching cats.
Groucho Marx had Margaret Dumont. Tsipras has Zoe “Crazy Eyes” Constantopoulou, his Parliamentary Speaker who is, shall we say, in need of a check-up from the neck up and has openly defied him, twice voting against austerity measure packages he too once opposed.
But, like Samaras, he came around to accepting once he found out that without aid from the troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) that Greece would go broke faster than a drunken sailor in port after too many days at sea.
At least with Constantopoulou she could give people that snake-haired stare, turn them into pillars of salt and Greece could export it under the brand name Medusa.
But who wouldn’t back down from Constantopoulou, she of the menacing stare, short temper and that thousand-yard look that makes you wonder why she can see another dimension and you can’t.
She must have some pictures of him wearing a suit at a Capitalist banker’s meeting because she’s beating him like a rented mule and getting away with it.
Then there is his former finance minister Yanis “Game of Thrones” Varoufakis, who can’t wait for tomorrow because he gets better looking every day and thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, which might not be a stretch if it’s full of SYRIZANs who could pass for Trekkies, minus the pointy ears and “Live long and prosper” salute.
Varoufakis went rogue and devised a super-secret plan to hack into the Greek tax system, set up a parallel banking system (appropriate for someone living in a parallel universe), makes enemies faster than a Red Sox fan wearing a “Yankees Suck” T-shirt in Yankee Stadium and looks like he’s trying to get even with everyone who ever doubted him.
Tsipras dumped him once it became clear Varoufakis was the obstacle to getting a deal with the troika who looked at him like a leper trying to get into their swimming pool.
He defined Persona Non Grata and his game-playing may have been fun for him but not the 11 million people in Greece he put at risk. Even double-secret triple probation wasn’t enough for him.
Believe it or don’t, he’s not even the most dangerous of the clueless crew that makes up SYRIZA. That’s Panagiotis “I’m Madder Than Hell” Lafazanis, who’s to the left of Fidel Castro who’s not a red enough Communist for him. Lafazanis, as Energy Minister, defied Tsipras’ decision to cave in on another promise, that being to stop privatizations.
Lafazanis – as has Constantopoulou – pretty much spit in Tsipras’ face in public and got away with it for a long time. That was until Lafazanis thought he was Spartacus and tried to lead a rebellion against his own party leader and rallied the far-far-far left in SYRIZA against more austerity measures everyone in SYRIZA knew was coming the day they were elected on Jan. 25 but pretended they didn’t.
Tsipras needs to be part lion-tamer in this circus where the clowns are trying to take over his Big Top at the same time. SYRIZA is a main attraction and a sideshow at the same time and you know in one of their tents there are some freaks waiting for their chance too.
You can almost hear the barker now: “Step right up ladies and gentlemen! For only one euro you can see real live SYRIZANS. They walk, they talk, they crawl on their bellies like reptiles! But please, don’t get near them when they’re giving speeches as they’re dangerous and bite if you get too close or mention the word ‘Troika.’”
As other rebels rise in his Rube Goldberg contraption of a party that is really just a political three-ring circus, Tsipras is left with trying to keep it together to fend off early elections. He’s stocked with what the circus needs though, as famed circus owner P. T. Barnum put it.
“Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung,” he said. But with polls showing SYRIZA, which closed the banks, would win the next elections anyway, Tsipras – who railed that the troika was ruining democracy – should read what late American journalist H.L Mencken said. “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.” At least Tsipras is well positioned for that.