Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

No congratulations from Obama

May 1st, 2014

A leading right-wing pundit finds it impolite of President Obama not to congratulate PM Orbán on his electoral victory. He argues that accusations of anti-democratic tendencies against the Hungarian government are misplaced and America’s record in that field offers no ground for haughty gestures.

Obama has been discourteous to Orbán”, political analyst and pro-government activist Tamás Fricz writes in the headline of his commentary in Magyar Nemzet. Vice President Biden discussed the Ukraine crisis with Hungary’s Prime Minister on the phone last week and was reported to have congratulated him on being returned to power, “although some believe he omitted to mention the election” (the brief official White House statement makes no mention of that detail). Scores of international leaders, from Chancellor Merkel of Germany to Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel did send congratulating messages to Budapest, just as President Obama did four years ago, when Mr Orban won his first two thirds majority in Parliament, Fritz recalls. He believes that the reason why the President has not done so this time is that the governing liberal élite describes the Hungarian Prime Minister as a danger to democracy. “They accuse him of dismantling democracy, building an autocracy, dismantling press freedom, secretly co-operating with neo-Nazi Jobbik, tolerating and sometimes even fomenting anti-Semitism. On top of it all Orbán is purportedly turning back towards the East and is becoming a trump card in Putin’s hands”.

Fritz suggests that Washington had better look at the kind of democracy it introduced in Iraq, where “chaos and terror now reign”. He also mentions the NSA scandal as proof that the US administration has no proper respect for privacy either at home or abroad. Nor does he forget the case of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp Mr Obama promised to close down six years ago. Finally, he quotes a recent study by American professors Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern) who describe the American system as an oligarchy: “Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.”  “And Obama has not congratulated Orbán on his re-election, for the latter is a danger to democracy. I see.”  Fritz concludes.

Tags: , , ,