Slovenian and US
menstrual election cycles are oddly in sync. No matter the clusterfuck this country is in, we’ll always find elections to have more or less simultaneously with the “Tuesday after the first Monday in November“. Four years ago it was parliamentary elections which gave us Borut Pahor and gave Barack Obama to the rest of the world. Well, except Iran. And maybe Israel. But that’s another story.
Borut and Mitt, the also-rans (sources: The Firm™ and NYT)
This time around, however, the game in both towns is presidential. Barack H. Obama is running for re-election in Washington, while Danilo Türk is running for another term in Ljubljana. Also running are Mitt Romney in DC and Borut Pahor over here. Or should that be in past tense?
You’ll remember how pengovsky wrote about Borut Pahor turning into Slovenian Joe Lieberman. Today, however, he seems to have suffered his very own Mitt Romney moment, and not even a full 24 hours after former Governor of Massechussets more or less tanked his presidential bid.
Namely, in a pre-session huddle with members of the press Pahor, who serves as MP for Social Democrats (where he lost a re-election bid as party leader) said that his 2008-2011 government was oblivious to the worsening situation in the banking sector and totally failed to detect a problem. Which was a bit of a duh! moment for everyone else, but it seems to have been a breakthrough for Pahor himself. Which would be all fine and dandy were it not for the small fact of him running for president of this country.
The post of the President of the Republic is the pinnacle of political hierarchy in Slovenia. Despite the fact that it is largely (but not completely) a ceremonial post, the president is elected by a popular vote and is as such often looked to for moral and political guidance. Borut Pahor, despite his undeniable political and diplomatic achievements (the Arbitration Agreement with Croatia being his lasting contribution to the short history of this country), was voted out of office on account of – well – bad leadership. Sure, the fact that the pension- and labour-market reforms were defeated on a referendum was the result of an unholy alliance between the right-wing opposition and labour unions, but even after the defeat he relentlessly clung on to power saying that the last thing this country needs is political turmoil. Failing to recognise the fact that by then the country was throat-deep in political turmoil.
He also did not realise that, for better or for worse, the buck stopped with him, the head of the government and of the largest coalition party. He actively evaded taking responsibility for the situation and thus only protracted the political impasse that had at the time gripped Slovenia. And when he did make a move it was far too little, far too late. And after being subjected to an open can of whoop-ass in 2011 parliamentary elections (SD plunged from 30% in 2008 to a meagre 10% in 2011) he blamed everyone and his brother for the defeat. In fact, the only proof that Borut Pahor does indeed have a back came only days ago, when he fell of a horse and hurt it. The back, I mean. The horse is reportedly OK.
The scene was repeated in June this year, when – despite the epic electoral defeat – he ran for re-election as party leader. The Social Democrats, in what appears to have been a rare moment of lucidity, ousted him by the thinnest of margins and installed Igor Lukšič as head of SD (Lukšič himself painfully underperformed ever since, but that’s another story). Pahor went on with his presidential bid regardless, as if he is somehow entitled to the top post, after having already served as head of the Parliament (2000-2004) and head of the government (2008-2011).
Thus, after objectively failing as prime minister and then as party leader, Pahor now of his own free will said that he also failed in realising the problems of the banking sector. And yet he truly believes that he is fit to be president of this country, at a time as perilous as any this generation has ever seen. This, ladies and gentlemen, is nothing less than a humongous case of disconnect from reality.
Despite his apparent panache and suaveness, Borut Pahor often came across as overly candid, naive and unable to properly gauge the political environment he was in. Not unlike Mitt Romney, who probably killed any chance he had to get elected president. And so, too, it seems, has Borut Pahor.
Unless, of course, the disconnect is not only with Borut Pahor.