Right-wing Czech Political Hack, Mirek Topolánek, Calls Obama's Economic Plans "The Way To Hell"... As His Government Falls
Topolánek was happier with a less visionary American leader
Europe has it's own problems, financial and otherwise, and tends to blame the U.S. for all of them, sometimes with justification and sometimes with none at all. Europe has a rotating presidency between the various countries and the current occupant is the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolánek, a controversial right wing politician. Yesterday his unpopular government fell after a vote of "no confidence" in his Bush-like leadership. Even members of his own party voted against him. In Czechoslovakia, the much disliked Mr. Topolánek is best known for trying to vilify his political opponents with inappropriate slurs-- like implying that the left-leaning party was "soft" on Nazism, ironic since he is widely suspected of being a neo-Nazi sympathizer himself and often uses coded Nazi phrases to appeal to his far right supporters. He was a major Bush backer inside a Europe where Bush was extremely disliked.
The only time I've ever been at a state banquet was when President Clinton invited me to meet the heroic (and very progressive) Czech president, Václav Havel. Topolánek is no Havel, believe me. Yesterday, just hours after failed his government was voted out of office, he lashed out-- a Barack Obama, describing his stimulus measures as "the way to hell."
Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek argued that the Obama administration’s fiscal package and financial bailout “will undermine the stability of the global financial market.”
Next week President Obama will be in London for a meeting of the Group of 20, the world's biggest economies and the week after Obama will be in Prague for a European-U.S. summit. Presumably Topolanek will be allowed to be at both meetings, although his presence will be an embarrassment for everyone else. Last week he lost out when the European Union decided to spend another 75 billion Euros in its own stimulus package for struggling Eastern European economies, Czech neighbors faring badly that are disdained by Topolánek.
His anti-stimulus ravings are consistent with the right-wing ideology he has always espoused and are at the heart of his government's fall. President Obama is very popular in Europe and his economic approach is something most Europeans like. The feeling in the European Parliament is that Topolánek is a hack in way over his head and probably the worst possible leader for the European presidency. Sweden gets the rotating presidency at the end of June and that is expected to be the last anyone ever hears of Mirek Topolánek-- unless of course, he is asked to work with like-minded American rightists who are also hoping to see Obama fail, whether Rush Limbaugh or (yes, he's back), Bobby Jindal.
Meanwhile, if narrow-minded conservative Europeans don't like Obama's plans, wait til they hear what real American populists like Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden and Sherrod Brown have to say! Merkley is calling on the G-20 nations to contribute their fair share of the financial market bailout.
“This is an international economic crisis and it requires an international response. American taxpayers have contributed billions to stabilize the financial markets-- much of which is being directed to foreign banks. We expect that the governments of those nations would be eager to help stabilize their own financial institutions and would contribute to that effort as well.”
Havel is a Lou Reed fan and Topolánek says he's a Pink Floyd lover, but somehow I thought this AC/DC song was a better summation of the Czech rightist's career prospects: