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Hungary’s Gyurcsany Pulls Page from Angelides, Schwarzenegger

Sep
22
2006

The core of George W. Bush’s foreign policy seems to be based on a principle learned from his father—Democracies don’t fight each other and by spreading Democracy, we can establish a new, more peaceful world order.
On a short-term basis, that theory is being called into question with election results in Iraq and the Palestinian Authority. However, recent rioting in Hungary reminds us that we should be wary what lessons of Democracy Americans are teaching to these newly-freed countries.
News accounts of the events which triggered rioting in the streets of Budapest this week sound like they could be pulled from the pages of the Sacramento Bee.

The Hungarian premier is resisting pressure to step down after a recording was leaked in which the Socialist leader admitted his government lied about Hungary’s economy to win April elections.

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany seems to be taking the worst of California politics over the last five years.
Early in the 2002 campaign for Governor of California, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan began attacking Governor Gray Davis over the imbalance of the State’s budget. The problem he said, was as large as ten billion dollars.
Davis, in turn, attacked Riordan in the Republican primary as a doddering old fool who was just making up numbers. There was no deficit, California voters were told.
When Bill Simon, the eventual winner of the GOP Primary that year brought up the State budget deficit again that fall, Davis reiterated that no such deficit existed.
Shortly after winning re-election, Governor Gray Davis disclosed that, indeed, the State had a structural deficit of $8 billion and a cumulative debt nearly four times as much.
That betrayal of the public trust led to the Recall vote in 2003 which, rather than being a media circus, as it was portrayed at the time, seems like a relatively peaceful for of putch in comparison to what’s happened this week in Budapest. I somehow doubt that the Magyar will replace their P.M. with an Austrian, however.
Opponents of Gyurcsany prompted the riots this week by taking a page from Schwarzenegger rival Phil Angelides—leaking secret tapes. When will politicians learn not to record their private conversations?!? It’s not just for Republicans any more!
What Hungary teaches us Americans should be that as we spread Democracy around the world, we should be wary that others will emulate us—including picking the worst of American political traditions: mudslinging and lying to voters.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 1:40 PM | Permalink

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