Any voter harboring hope that Greece’s second round of general elections on Sept. 20 – the second in eight months – will change anything is fodder for the Home Shopping Network, Nigerian Internet scam artists and would be a Chicago Cubs fan in the United States because they aren’t going to change anything and be costly.
Former Prime Minister Alexis “U-Turn” Tsipras had already added 86 billion euros ($96.15 billion) to the bill that will be paid by ordinary Greek workers, pensioners and the poor, not including the cost of the ill-fated July 5 referendum in which he urged them to vote NO on austerity measures demanded by international lenders only to vote YES himself when he capitulated.
Ahead of the Jan. 25 snap polls, Tsipras campaigned against austerity and said his Radical Left SYRIZA would destroy the “corrupt oligarchy,” and overturn the bailout deals signed by the New Democracy Capitalists and PASOK Anti-Socialists. He was going to be the New Face of Greek politics and change Europe while he was at it.
Cut to a few months later when he was being spanked over the knee of German Chancellor Angela “Dominatrix” Merkel who smacked him around the same way she did former premier and then New Democracy leader Antonis “Mr. Bean Counter” Samaras and his predecessor, PASOK’s George “The Money is There” Papandreou, who has left the party his father co-founded.
For four decades, Greeks routinely voted in New Democracy and PASOK, who in 2012 joined in a coalition to keep themselves in power, enriched, stiffed banks with 250 million euros ($279.5 million) in bad loans and whose only intention was staying in office no matter the cost to the country they falsely professed to love.
Tsipras was going to be the Great New Hope but turned into the Same Old Dope when he, too, agreed to impose more harsh conditions on people he said wouldn’t work.
Now he’s campaigning against himself, urging people to bring back the man who is both for and against austerity and who, too, has knelt in obedience to Merkel and the Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-IMF-ECB-ESM).
Polls show SYRIZA and New Democracy too close to call which means Greeks can’t decide which of the same old austerity stiffs to return to power to do the same thing to them all over again.
Tsipras called the elections to rid himself of SYRIZA dissidents who said he betrayed his party and Greeks by reneging on campaign promises.
Rebel leader Panayiotis Lafazanis created Popular Unity to challenge his old boss but it’s only polling and trolling around 3 percent in the polls, the threshold needed to win seats in Parliament so he’d be irrelevant – unless Tsipras needed his votes and he’d be back in the saddle again.
The centrist egghead To Potami party led by former TV presenter Stavros Theodorakis fashions itself a bit of a power broker whose votes could also be needed to form a government but these guys idea of governing is to read about it.
So the truth is that it doesn’t matter who wins the elections, and it’s likely the political landscape will be so fractured that there could be as many as four or five parties in a Grand Coalition.
You can imagine the jockeying for power and ministerial positions in a government of SYRIZA-New Democracy-PASOK-To Potami-Popular Unity – to be known as the Pentagram – hoping it will have occult powers and can raise Pythagoras to help Greece because magic is what’s needed here.
Maybe noted Greek-American magician Criss Angel could be Finance Minister and make the 330-billion euro debt disappear because Yanis “I Put a Spell on You” Varoufakis’ plans didn’t’ work.
Well, as Thomas Jefferson said, “Ridicule is the only weapon that can used against unintelligible propositions,” but Greece is beyond ridicule or parody and is such a hopeless basket case that God could be elected and in a month would be showing a 70 percent unfavorable rating unless he could create a miracle.
With a debt so unsustainable – rising 721 euros a second, 43,260 euros a minute, 2,595,600 euros an hour or 62,294,400 euros a day – it can never be paid back.
No slogans please. “Only Forward” is Tsipras’ new rallying cry, ironic for a man who pushed Greece back to 2010 when it first asked for handouts.
All the election will do is put the same old faces in a game of Musical Chairs filled with incompetent hacks and profiteering politicians without a clue or conscience what to do.
Case in point: New Democracy could have put up Kyriakos Mitsotakis, 47, the son of a former Prime Minister, who served as Administrative Reform Minister, as the party’s interim leader instead of Evangelis Meimarakis, 61, a tired old hack retread who could have played Sleepy in Snow White.
Mitsotakis has his own luggage but at least the showdown would have been relative youngsters against the 41-year-old Tsipras and give the illusion that this time around it wasn’t just, as comic Steven Wright said, déjà vu and amnesia at the same time. “Did I just say that?”
So Greeks will just go on being exiles feeding on hope that someone of stature and conscience and dignity and decency one day will arise – or be born – to finally save them all.