No no, not another post on Schmitt and [CENSORED BY SCHMITT]... Live and learn.
But before I get to serious substance, a quick airline update: On my flight to London last week American Airlines departed an hour late because the video system was malfunctioning. I thought to myself, who cares?!?!?! I'm going to miss my connection over this. Sometimes airlines, perhaps overly taken by the "experiential marketing" trend, forget that getting people to their destination on a timely basis is the most important experience in air travel. You have to deliver the basic stuff before you deliver the fluff. I barely made my connection on British Airways as a result. Incidentally, BA is simply outstanding. I ate some excellent chicken tikka masala on the plane, and I know my chicken. Unlike Schmitt, I don't fly business class, so I don't get to eat foie gras. I guess that if I got foie gras that I wouldn't care about being late.
So the Israeli election happened last week. I posted my toughts about it on the actual election day, but for some odd reason they didn't make it onto the regular blog. So what you're getting now are my POST election thoughts. This is a country where voting rates are typically in the 70-80% range, and with two hours to go the rates were about 50%, and the final rates about 60%. There seems to be a complete disaffection with politics and politicians. What's especially troubling is that the party that was expected to win (and ultimately did win), Ehud Olmert's Kadima party, advanced a plan to redeploy and evacuate of most of the territory that Israel controls in the West Bank (just like Ariel Sharon did in Gaza). Even though the plan would reverse a 39 year history, people didn't mobilize to vote. Still, the most stunning aspect of this election are the seven (of 120) seats won by the Retirees' Party. Yes! We have a retirees party here in Israel (talk about going out with a bang before you croak). Well, we never had it before, but now all of a sudden we do. Most stunningly, much of the electoral strength of the party is actually derived from disaffected twenty and thirty-somethings. The deal with the Retirees is that they weren't expected to win any seats, but then, once one of the polls showed them winning two seats, everyone who was looking to enter a protest vote voted for them. Their popularity spread like wildfire, kind of like a Cialdini experiment on social proof. Overnight it became cool to vote for the Retirees; talk about buzz marketing. Meanwhile, none of the people who voted for the Reitrees have ANY idea what the party members stand for expect for getting retirees higher pensions. The funniest quip of the elections was in fact by the head of the Retirees' Party, Rafi Eitan: "I can't see [points at his glasses], I can't hear [points at his hearing aid], and next week I'm having an angioplasty." He wasn't kidding. I guess that the joke is on us.