More than fifty years ago Vice-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon was accused of being on the “take.” About to be thrown off the ticket he made a speech to the American public saying that it was all a misunderstanding and that none of the dollars in question went into his pockets. Then in a political master stroke he said,”
One other thing I probably should tell you because if we don’t they’ll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something-a gift-after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was. It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl-Tricia, the 6-year old-named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it. That speech , the act of “throwing himself on the mercy of the court” of public opinion as well as that little black cocker spaniel saved Nixon’s career, at least until he blew it twenty years later in the Watergate scandal by not asking for forgiveness.
Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, tried to take a page out of the Nixon play book. Standing up in front of the Kadima party (including his foreign minister drooling over his potential resignation) Olmert tried to throw himself on the mercy of the Israeli public. His speech, which will be forever known as the I know I suck and you all hate me speech, was not nearly as politically astute (Thank G-d) as Nixon’s. Olmert admitted that he was unpopular, but he blamed the e constant reminders of his unpopularity through the Media and speeches made by MKs for making him unpopular (in the old days of computing, I believe that is a prime example of an uncontrollable loop). Olmert stood tall, with his funny comb-over proudly greased across his bald spot and said that he was there to lead (I wonder when he will start). He defended his decisions on the war as being unpopular but Correct.
Olmert knows he’s not popular (YNET NEWS)In Kadima meeting, prime minister concedes public opinion problems, but declares resolve to stay on Attila Somfalvi “I’m not a popular prime minister. The polls show this and the media makes sure to remind the public that I’m unpopular. Opposition members…and even politicians in my own party make sure to bring this up,” said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at a press conference after a Kadima meeting Thursday. With this opening statement, Olmert rejected what he referred to as a “political beauty pageant” and proceeded to defend himself. He told party members and the public at large to ask themselves whether they prefer a popular prime minister or one who does his job, and declared his intention to stay in office for a full term of four years, saying: “I’m here to lead and to work.” The prime minister hinted that his popularity could have returned had he indulged in deficit spending and given money to local authorities or if he had listened to media military analysts and former generals when deciding how to manage last summer’s war in Lebanon. Olmert suggested that he was correct in his unpopular choice regarding the war, claiming that acting otherwise would have endangered IDF fighters, the kidnapped soldiers and the children in Sderot. As evidence of his success as prime minister, he noted that, according to the most recent poverty report, the number of Israeli poor decreased this past year, in contrast to the past several years. Regarding recent allegations that he was involved in a number of corruption scandals, Olmert said that such accusations were purely interest-based and that he had “nothing to hide.” “Had I worried more about public relations and less about strengthening the government and about Hamas, had I met with my lawyers instead of the Palestinian president, it is safe to assume I would have been more popular,” Olmert said. “If this is the price, I prefer to remain unpopular,” he added. The Likud party issued a statement in response to Olmert’s speech, asserting that “Ehud Olmert is not popular because he failed miserably as prime minister. The public in Israel has good reason to think he must resign.”