Sunday, June 22, 2003

Little Voice

Yesterday's HDZ convention had its main star in the form of Guy A. Vander Jagt, former Republican Congressman from Michigan. Vander Jagt used to deliver key speech on 1980 Republican presidential Convention. Almost quarter of century later similar services were provided to Ivo Sanader. Speech, in which Vander Jagt said that US Vice President Cheney had praised Sanader over Iraq issue, was best received by delegates. In the same speech Vander Jagt attacked Račan's (Racan's) government for rising unemployment, foreign debt, low exports, corruption and bad policies towards war veterans.

Having US Congressman as the main speaker at convention is supposed to give huge PR boost for HDZ, party that had suffered big blow in the Gotovina affair. The only way HDZ could win is to convince voters that its victory is inevitable, just like it did it in 1990 and SDP-HSLS coalition did in 2000. Support of US government – just like the one received by Račan (Racan) before 2000 elections - is the most important, whether it is real or simply perceived by misinformed Croatian public.

There are some problems with this. First of all, HDZ by tying itself to USA risks alienating Croatian public who had widely embraced anti-Americanism during Iraq war. Second, Guy A. Vander Jagt is hardly among key American political figures and Račan's media machine would undoubtedly remind Croatian public of that.


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