The Hungarian Solution

If the current wave of Republican criticism of Mitt Romney—due to his ideological uncertainty and the general incompetence of his campaign—keeps up, here’s a suggestion for a replacement candidate: Viktor Orban.

The longtime leader of Hungary’s right-wing Fidesz Party and Hungary’s prime minister since 2010, Orban seems more committed to carrying out a Tea Party-esque agenda than Romney does. In his two years in office (he also served as prime minister a decade ago, but with a smaller majority and a less radical platform), Orban has slashed unemployment benefits, restricted collective bargaining, and reduced the nation’s retirement benefits. More than that, though, he’s gotten into trouble with the European Union (which at least nominally tries to hold member states to agreed-upon democratic norms) for his move to make the nation’s judiciary answerable to his office, and his purge of TV programs and newscasters who didn’t take the Fidesz line. Independent voices have largely vanished from Hungarian television and radio during his rule. By every account save those carried on Hungarian state media, Orban’s policies have polarized the nation as never before. Budapest has been the site of massive democracy demonstrations, and political scientists note that members of the nation’s parliament, who used to socialize across party lines, now hate each other too much to break bread or get drunk together.

To American ears, it all sounds so very familiar. And the latest overlap between the Orban’s and GOP’s playbook is the news that Orban is changing Hungary’s election law to eliminate voter registration in the final weeks leading up to elections—a shift, clearly intended to suppress late-breaking anti-Fidesz voters, that has prompted leaders of opposition parties to embark on a hunger strike.

The only thing that might keep Orban off the GOP ticket is his affinity for Vladimir Putin’s Russia. But that’s just foreign policy, which, as Mitt Romney demonstrates every day, is a concern that real Republicans just don’t take seriously any more. So what’s the hold-up? Romney has gone about as far as he can go. Time to go to the bullpen and bring in Viktor Orban!


Can we see his birth certificate?

Nice article. Only that Orban haven't made the nation’s judiciary answerable to his office, most of the Hungarian media is not only independent, but actually very hostile towards his without any restrictions whatsoever, 'massive democracy demonstrations' are much less 'massive' than pro-govt rallies, he's actually introducing voter registration not eliminating that, ' leaders of opposition parties' going on a hunger strike against it is actually former PM Gyurcsány alone, whose party now has the support of ~5% of the electorate, and Orban is the biggest opponent of Mr Putin in the country, very much unlike above mentioned post-communist Gyurcsány or Orban's far-right oppostion, Jobbik.

Mr Meyerson is apparently less informed on foreign issues than Mr Romney.

And lets not forget all other great democracies of the world where "'massive democracy demonstrations' are much less 'massive' than pro-govt rallies", such as the former Soviet Union, North Korea, Iran, etc. (can't really remember others now). BTW, has there ever been a pro-government rally in the US, or the UK, or France, organized and sponsored by one of the government-linked oligarchs of that country who also happens to own the local equivalent of Fox News as well as a bus manufacturing firm that provides buses to transport people from and to the country for such good causes, and also pays a small gratuity to those taking the trouble to participate? Have the Koch Brothers ever organized and sponsored a pro-government rally under Bush?

The commenter from the Hungarian Embassy must fulfill the requirements of his/her job description (i.e., unconditional loyalty to and protection of an oppressive regime and its crazy ruler) because otherwise he/she would have to pack up and leave good old D.C. to return home for questioning (granted, Orbán is not yet Gadhaffi-level crazy, so he/she would just be out of a lucrative job, but not dead). However, us ordinary Hungarians can very well identify with the everyday brutality of living in an emerging clerico-fascist state.

Harold Meyerson seems a really brave and smart man...
But why did he writte an articale about a faraway european country without knowledge of the facts? I have always admired those who can have courage to this way. It would be the new american journalists' solution?
It's so embarrassing and disappointing.
Shortly about the facts:
Moderate right side won the hungarian election with 66% in 2010 because of previous (socialist-liberal) goverment led Hungary to huge crisis. During this postcommunist period (2002-2010) they doubled the national debt. Corruption prevalent at this time. The social and ethnic tensions have grown enormously. In 2006 was a big riot in Hungary against left side goverment because the prime minister admitted lying to the campaign to retain power. During this left side's period the official hungarian tv and radio ran without opposite control!!
Hungarians need to change the retirement system because it was a heritage of communism. For example a policeman could go to retire when he is 40 years old! Hungarians had a lof of silly retirement methods as like this.
And I could continue but what for?
Just one thing at the end. Hungary same as other countries needs to criticism, but very harmful to stigmatized a nation, a country. I never could think of hungarian prison conditions in relation to mention Guantanamo, because I have so much respect for me not to judge you from distance...
I suggest more respect and acumen and better journalists.

Americans can only dream about that happened in free elections in Hungary. It's true, Orban has two-thirds majority, but you should know that he serves his country unlike the previous united communist and liberal parties. Almost everything had been stolen by this parties and our debit grew from 50% to 80% under their time. The big money tap was open for long years to your direction and Orban closed it. This is the main problem for you and for the writer of this article. And... our election system doesn't differ from yours. This is the truth.

Please check this video about the biggest demonstration for democracy at last 20 years.
It was in January this year and how suprise it was a pro-goverment rally!
Number of participants was appx.400.000-1million.

They criticized Viktor Orban in European Union!
This was the big demonstration because of this!
This demonstrated in support of Viktor Orban!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't believe the Orban-loving zealots. As a politically independent 40-year-old Hungarian intellectual living in Budapest, I can testify that the article's claims about our PM are all true. In fact, the situation is much worse than that. No government since the end of the Communist rule in 1989 has harmed our country more than Orban, both politically and economically. Job opportunities are non-existent because the government's aggressive anti-Westernism and anti-capitalism have scared off foreign investors; the economy has stalled completely, with corporate cut-backs instead of investments; his Minister of Economy is a ridiculous clown. Orban is politically isolated from the developed world, so he seeks rogue friends like the president of Azerbaijan; he lies and see-saws recklessly, and kills our democratic system even more recklessly. The list goes on and on. Fortunately, his support has waned by about 50% in the past two years.

It's really sad to see, that people call themselves intellectual, but are misinformed by the manipulative media, like you are Sir.
You claim that the Orban regime has harmed the country economically and politically, based on propaganda slogans "anti-capitalistic politics" and "no job opportunities" due to scarring off investors. Maybe you slept through the last 4-5 years, but the world faced/is facing a financial crisis, which has severely consequences for both privat households and the business world as well. One of the main reason for the crisis nowdays, is the way capitalism advanced in the last decades. Just think about the unregulated financial markets, which lead to the crisis we face nowdays. One of the consequences of that is the growing unemployment rate, but Hungary is still in a better shape then lot of other countries in the EU like Greece or Spain. You are right however, that the government had taken some steps, which effected the business world (foreign MNCs) negatively. These steps (extra taxes for MNCs) are however good decissions, since you can't burden the private households any longer, which would only lead to further decreasing consumption (and private consumption is the main component of GDP for most of the developed countries). In a global crisis like we face nowdays, it's normally that MNC's cut back on investments, especially in crisis-sensitive sectors like the automobile industry. Perhaps you are right in your statement that says, that Orban is isolating himself from the developed world, the developing world which is lead by the financial dictator called the IMF, who currently is asking Greece to cut back on pensions furthermore, and introduce a 6 day working week. The non-country specific steps forced by the IMF would only prolong the private debt crisis, damaging the private consumption even more. A low/decreasing consumption can throw back an economy for decades, just see Japan for example (lost decades).

It's really easy to get corrupted by the lies, you hear from the media. To be honest it has to be said that the right wing media can be decissive as well. It's important to get reliable andf raw information which hasn't been interpreted by neither side. I suggest for you to look at statistical sites, like KSH (hungarian statistical inastituion) or Eurostat, and see the raw facts for yourself. These facts will tell you that currently Hungary is one of the only states which is inside the 3% deficit criteria, and the only state in the EU who managed to damp their state debt in 2012 *(it has to be said that Greece managed to decrease it's Debt to GDP as well in 2012, but that was down to the haircut forced by EU/IMF back in spring).


Hello! My name is Szilard. I am from Hungary!
Viktor Orban prime minister it does not destroy democracy in Hungary!!!!!!!!! Viktor Orban BUILD democracy! Please watch this video, and see on left window Hungary 2006.10.23 (previous (post-communist) government in the 1956 anti-communist revolution in the 50th anniversary) and in right window the post-communist lies 2011.03.01. !!!!! Viktor Orban it does not destroy democracy!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUILD DEMOCRACY IN HUNGARY!!!!
The liar prime minister name: FERENC GYURCSANY, and his political party is MSZP. MSZP is successor party MSZMP. MSZMP born in 1956 and invited the Russian army 1956 revolution and make this party communist dictatorship in Hungary 1956-1989. VIKTOR ORBAN the current Prime Minister building the democracy, after the communist destruction.
Important to know that the police did not wear an identification number: this is: unauthorized, illegal, unconstitutional this actions! He not heard in the streets against protesters!!!!! Riot police fired people!!!!!!

from budapest Fri, 2012-09-14 11:04 write this: "Don't believe the Orban-loving zealots."

We are not zealots!
You can see this videos, and see we are not stupid!

MSZP is successor party MSZMP. (This political party is Ferenc Liar Gyurcsan poltitval party) and MSZMP make the communist dictatorship in Hungary 1956-1989.

In 2006 government party is: MSZP, and make terror: 2006.10.23.!!!!!!!!!!!

We are not Orban zealots!

Oh, stop harping about the previous government's real or perceived wrongdoing. This is NOW, and what matters is what the current government is doing. Also, Orban himself is proven to have repeatedly admitted to lying. ("Don't listen to what I say to be re-elected" etc.) Just a few days ago, he very obviously lied when listing unreal conditions by the IMF to a credit agreement with Hungary.

You say that Orban is building democracy. How is the abolition of independent institutions "building democracy"? How is the planned limitation of free voting rights (through compulsory prior registration) "building democracy"? Etc. etc.

Also: our country's credit ratings were recently deteriorated to the junk category, for the first time in decades, and clearly because of the fatally flawed economic policy of our government.

Quit worshipping political parties and face the facts.

Here is a liar:

As another Orbán-supporter 40-year-old Hungarian intellectual living in Budapest, I can testify that the article's claims about our PM are all pure BS. (BTW, "politically independent" is a codeword here for a postcommie).
It seems like BS-ing is The American Solution.

The comments here give a good indication of the deep trouble that we Hungarians are in. The country is falling apart around us, people are leaving for the West in masses, Orban is busy re-creating Communism (with the very same results), and these mindless, unthinking, unseeing robots keep on applauding.

You, postcommies are in deep trouble indeed. Your incompetent and incredibly corrupt kind nearly bankrupted the country in 2008 by endebting Hungary to the eye between 2002 and 2008 and people won't forget that. Your favourites (calling themselves either "the Left" or "left-liberals") were defeated in a huge political landslide in 2010 and they, MSZP or ex-"Socialist" Prime Minister Gyurcsány's splinter group, haven't won a single by-election anywhere since then. Besides, in an unprecedented way since the fall of the Communist dictatorship in 1990, Fidesz-KDNP consistently has been topping all the polls since the elections. I suggest you should get used to the idea that the object of your deep hatred, Orbán will be the Prime Minister for a good while.

This article is full of lies about Mr. Orban and Hungary. Simply ridiculous.

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