Monday, September 20

Politics is a profession and paratroopers end up crashing to the ground

With the end of bipartisanship, the idea spread in Spain that professional politicians, who are almost all of them, were an essential part of the problem. The CIS surveys certified it in successive waves. The numerous cases of corruption seemed to confirm that suspicion. Partitocracy began to be used as a negative concept, although political parties have always been a key element of liberal democracy in Europe. Then Albert Rivera arrived and said that he was neither on the left nor on the right. What he really wanted to say was that he wanted to make the traditional parties of the left and right irrelevant. In the end, the voters decided that the one left over was the Citizen leader. From his subsequent statements, it is understood that he did not find out very well what happened or that he believed that the fault of the failure was everyone’s, except his. A very typical reaction in professional politicians.

Much of this general criticism was justified. The political system that had begun in the late 1970s was showing signs of obvious exhaustion. Starting in 2014, many top-level politicians went home overwhelmed by circumstances that they neither could nor knew how to control, because deep down they did not understand them. There was a generational change with the progressive entry of new politicians from Podemos, Ciudadanos and Vox that brought politics closer to reality in exchange for making it more aggressive.

What did not change was the desire of the parties to opt for renewal through the signings of (alleged) galactics. People who were said to come from civil society – where else would they come from? – to bring a fresher point of view and attached to the street. Or they were simply people well known for their careers in another professional field. Obviously, in each game these signings were received as a masterstroke from the leader. From outside, journalists looked at them skeptically. Some only needed an interview to expose their ignorance on basic matters. Or his arrogance. Sometimes they elicited a certain condescending affection: he does not know where he has been.

The latter is what happened with Pepu Hernández, who this Thursday resigned as PSOE councilor in Madrid and his spokesman in the City Council. It was a signing of Pedro Sánchez to occupy that position – candidate for mayor of Madrid – in which the Socialists have not stopped conducting experiments that always end up just as badly. As a basketball coach and coach, he had achieved great success and had also accompanied him with a message about the importance of teamwork that was well received by the media. “Politics has never been alien to me. I do not have a license, but I am a socialist at heart and in thought,” Hernández said in an attempt to justify himself to journalists after his presentation.

His problem was not lacking a membership card, but it was soon found that his speech was full of generalities and good wishes with very little political intention. This was evident in the electoral debates in which he participated. Speaking in public is one of those things that politicians – not all, of course – get polished thanks to experience. As well as knowing how to answer the questions of a journalist who is constantly throwing balls at you at various points on the court. When you do not even touch her, it shows that you are a novice in these struggles. And you won’t have much time to catch up.

The examples of paratroopers who launched themselves decisively from the plane and ended up stamped on the ground or with a broken leg are numerous in games. Some even stayed at the door without jumping. The PP signed Daniel Lacalle, an economist and media face for his presence in television gatherings, and put him in fourth place on the Madrid list in April 2019. It was the prop with which Casado wanted to capture the right-wing economic message of the PP. He did not take possession of the seat and did not appear in the November election replay.

With Rajoy, the party had chopped higher by adding one of the best-known businessmen, Manuel Pizarro, former president of Endesa, who perhaps they were thinking of appointing Minister of Economy if they won the 2008 elections. Number two on the list headed by Rajoy in Madrid he had to settle for the presidency of a congressional commission. One of the most powerful managers in Spain could have become the economic voice of the PP, but he only dedicated himself to being the person who gave the floor to the deputies. Little work for so much curriculum. It lasted less than two years.

A more funny example was that of Marcos de Quinto. Rivera enthusiastically presented him as the signing of the year. They sold him as a successful manager who was going to explain how jobs are really created in the economy. Very soon it was seen that boasting that you are a millionaire is not the best cover letter in a country where the most frequent salary is 18,489 euros per year (data from 2019). What mattered is that De Quinto didn’t even bother to talk about the economy from his Twitter account. What he liked was to shake up people on the left with a vulgar and sometimes insulting style. If a bully is what you need, you don’t need to make stellar signings.

Podemos was a new party and therefore brought new people into politics. It did not serve to prevent him from falling into one of the worst vices in professional politics, internal struggles when things go wrong or there are discrepancies. The two main founders of the party ended up fighting, which in practice put an end to the aspiration to surpass the PSOE as the main force on the left. In several regions, divisions have been a constant among their leaders, which has inevitably generated worse electoral results in those communities.

For a time, it seemed that Manuela Carmena, signed to be a candidate for mayor of Madrid when she was already of retirement age, was going to leave her stamp with a message in which she abjured the parties as a basic piece of politics. She managed to be elected mayor, which was an undoubted success, but later she managed the internal differences in Now Madrid with the same implacable gesture with which the parties end up self-utilizing themselves. It turned out that the unquestionable leadership of the leader was also a must in a formation that was not really a party. Similar vices in different containers.

An unexpected signing of Sánchez in his first government ended up on the street in a week. He chose the television presenter Màxim Huerta for the Culture portfolio without knowing that the fiscal engineering with which the TV stars are handled did not marry much with the principles that he had announced. Astronaut and engineer Pedro Duque was another surprising addition. After three years in the Ministry of Science, Sánchez considered it amortized and put the mayor of Gandía in her place, who at least is also an engineer.

Politics is a profession and, like all of them, it must be in permanent tension so as not to fall into its worst aspects (journalists know a lot about this). It requires an experience and a state of mind that are not found in all trades. You need a strange mix of arrogance and humility depending on the events. It is important to be specialized in an issue and at the same time have a generalist base that allows you to get out of any discussion alive. You have to be disciplined, but without giving up your own ideas.

The paratroopers arrive with the smile of the winner and what they see is a very crazy world in which they do not have the necessary tools to survive.

For good intentions they have, in life you have to flee from the fans.

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