1 vote

Mainstream Media's Misunderstanding of Politics takes on International Character (WSJ)

This isn't about Dr. Ron Paul, but it is about something that has plagued his campaign: The willful ignorance of the mainstream media and the political class! The following is an excerpt from a piece by The Wall Street Journal covering the historic outcome of Greek elections held Sunday (my emphasis):

Syriza is especially popular among young voters, who have been hardest hit by unemployment. It is one of the few voices in Greek politics campaigning for an agenda that includes individual rights, gay rights and environmental issues. Syriza is one of the few pro-immigrant parties in Greece. Its rhetoric against police brutality and in favor of the right to protest has drawn criticism from conservatives and Socialists alike; Tsipras has been accused of pandering to anarchists and others who instigated violence during anti-austerity protests in Greece.

When Tsipras ran for the party leadership in 2008, he was a local government representative. He won the post over a senior member of the party, Fotis Kouvelis, who now heads the Democratic Left party.

Spiros Rizopoulos, a political communications strategist and chief executive of Spin Communications, says a second round of elections is inevitable, and would likely favor Syriza at the expense of the two mainstream parties.

"Tsipras will do better in a second round. He has momentum at a time when people are ready to listen to anything," said Rizopoulos. "If he is smart, he will start moving to the center. But politics is all about momentum and he has got the momentum."

Two years of harsh austerity measures adopted in exchange for bailouts from Greece's European partners and the IMF have pushed the country's economy into recession. Unemployment, at close to 22%, is at record highs, business bankruptcies are soaring while consumer spending has plunged after slashed pensions and wages, along with higher taxes on everything from fuel to personal income.

Syriza and a handful of other anti-austerity parties have surged as voters rejected the two mainstream parties that back the policies.

Source: Paris, Costas and Matina Stevis. 2012. Greek Leftist in Spotlight As Talks Stumble. Wall Street Journal. May 8.

Notice the miscarriage of logic: A party that was near ~4-5% gets catapulted to second-place status for representing deep popular discontent, and even though a revote is expected to take its electoral gains even higher, if that party's leader is "smart" he will go "to the center".

I'm no Leftist by any stretch, but the Greek political spectrum is severely warped by the debt crisis right now (they get to be America's warm-up act), so what exactly is the "centrist" position right now? Pay half your debts? Implement half-austerity? The time for half-measures has long passed for Greece, and why would it be "smart" for a guy catapulted due to his strong NO to austerity to suddenly get wobbly.

WSJ must think Mitt Romney is a genius! He wobbles more than those pre-school toys of similar name. This is why the chattering classes so seldom get Dr. Paul - to them, he's not "smart".