‘Yes men’ about-face

It has only been a few days since virtually all government officials were offering categorical assurances that Costas Simitis is PASOK’s strong card and attributing suspicious motives to all those presenting scenarios of horses being changed in mid-stream ahead of imminent elections. We may be able to recognize a certain political expediency on the part of ministers and government deputies, but the same does not apply to journalists who in the recent past had been playing the role of government «yes men.» And it is these same journalists who now unhesitatingly support Simitis’s succession by Foreign Minister George Papandreou and promote the political advantages of such a move. It is true that our political life is characterized by a failing memory or at least by limitless tolerance, even of blatant opportunism. Today we can confidently promote that which we had mercilessly crushed only the day before because we know no one will demand any explanations, and there will be no negative repercussions on our careers. The imminent election of Papandreou has really rallied PASOK cadres and wooed back a group of disillusioned voters from the center left who had abandoned the party… But PASOK’s new leader will face some tough questions about Simitis’s work in government, and it is not at all sure that the promise of a bright future will be a viable substitute for answers regarding a grey present.

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