Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why Would Anyone Want To Be The Head Of Labor?

Amram Mitzna - Former Labor Party Chairman has officially announced on Wednesday that he will run for the seat once again. Mitzna ran in a general election against Ariel Sharon (then head of the Likud), and weirdly enough his main platform was for a disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Ariel Sharon won the election largely by frighting the public of the dangers of a disengagement from Gaza - famously stating that Netzarim is as much Israel as Tel Aviv.

The elections were a failure for Labor, achieving only 18 Knesset seats - a figure that would be considered a huge success today.  However despite Labor's failure, Ariel Sharon as prime minister did a massive U-turn and enacted Mitzna's plan (Actually he went much further then Mitzna ever suggested). Mitzna ended up leaving the leadership of Labor shortly after the elections - calling the rest of his party all kinds of names (all well deserved). He spent the last few years as the much acclaimed mayor of Yerucham - a poverty stricken city in the Negev.

Mitzna always made a good impression as an honest and serious man. Unfortunately he never made a great impression as an able politician on the national level. Personally I was dismayed at his campaign slogan last time round "We believe in you Mitzna - Because only you can" - which smacks of ego. In truth Mitzna was a national figure for so little time, that it was hard to judge him properly.  And so Mitzna remains somewhat of an enigma. Is he the honest leader we have all been yearning for, or is he just  well meaning but politically inept?

Labor has a habit of bringing in outside leaders just before an election -MitznaBarakPeretz - were all "stars" brought from outside to lead the party before an election. The inability to grow talent in-house is a clear sign of a party that has lost its way. Today Labor is a bankrupt (literally and ideologically) party, who's former party chairman split the party, is at an all time low at the polls (and might soon become as small as Meretz), and which has more people running to be its next chairman then it has Knesset members. 

I would argue that my doubts as to Mitzna's ability have been resolved by the fact that he is running in the race of Labor Party chairman. Anyone who would wish that job, must have his sanity brought into serious doubt. 

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