Monday, March 21, 2011

Tusk and Kaczynski face off

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk and opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, an ex-PM, decided to have an all-out mano-a-mano battle with each other to settle who is the best PM ever. Sounds interesting, eh? Unfortunately, they decided on the most boring medium ever: newspaper article writing to settle the grudge. Ouch.

Clearly Tusk is on the offensive, having launched ultra-long and ultra-boring articles in the daily Gazeta Wyborcza (here and here). The pieces were so long they had to be split into two parts (one on history and the second on wishful thinking) and still they took 3-4 pages of the daily.

Unfortunately the articles proved the rule quantity doesn't help quality. If one wanted to read through the thoughts and points of the prime minister, he or she would probably need a case of beer to do so, giving them the benefit of not remembering a thing after the painful excercise was completed.

One thing that struck me is the failures that Donald Tusk admitted to. After boasting of successes like road-building progress and "reform" of pension reform, he spoke of TWO failures: growth in the number of people hired in public administration and the terrible state of Poland's state railways. However, he quickly named the guilty: local governments (so it's not really Tusk's fault) and unnamed individuals who now comprise the former management of state railways PKP (so it's OK now and there is no need to think the government fucked up there).

So all in all, as in the previous, gloriously equal, socially responsible system, the general trend is perfect and we are swiftly overcoming minor obstacles and hindrances caused by enemies of the state.

Kaczynski's response can be read here and clearly was not written by Kaczynski. Let's be frank. It is impossible that Jaroslaw Kaczynski would mention the Smolensk crash in the second-last column. No way. It is also impossible for Kaczynski to try to be witty and snarky and sarcastic, which he is when he talks about Tusk being the PM.

The problem is that Kaczynski also speaks about himself, and obviously he believes it is he who is the alpha male, as in the best prime minister ever. So when he speaks about the economic successes of his cabinet and lists them as the cut in the disability pension contribution that saved Poland from global crisis, you cannot help but grind your teeth. The fact the tax cut was not paid for is one of the main reasons why "we" are dismantling the reformed pension system.

Soooo, you wonder who won the face off? In terms of sarcasm Jaroslaw clearly is king (although he cheated a bit by not writing the article) while Donald Tusk has the upper hand in terms of the quantity of meaningless black marks put on the poor-quality paper of Gazeta Wyborcza.

However, they both lost, for the simple reason that in the internet era of blogs, twitter and youtube, nobody gives a smelly brown object about anything that is below the fifth line of text and thus no one probably bothered to read any of the articles. Which unfortunately, and ironically, is also probably true of this very smart conclusion to a rather lengthy post.

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