Damage control: After President Pál Schmitt’s resignation

István Tarlós, lord mayor of Budapest, in an interview on MTV’s early morning program “Ma Reggel” (This morning), announced that “the person who after some twenty years, God knows how long he pursued his goal to cause harm to Mr. Pál Schmitt, should have thought about the damage he inflicted on the country.” Tarlós, in brief, blamed HVG and the man who brought the story to the magazine for “causing trouble.” I have the feeling that a lot of people think exactly the same as Tarlós. That is, the actual plagiarism is irrelevant; dredging up Schmit’s dissertation was a political attack pure and simple concocted by the left-liberal media and people who are antagonistic toward the current Hungarian government.

Csaba Horváth, chairman of the Budapest chapter of MSZP, called on Tarlós to take his words back. It seemed to Horváth that for Tarlós “hiding the truth, covering up cheating, rescuing a cheat from punishment is more useful to the country than discovering the truth and exposing a fraud…. Such a man cannot be the first citizen of Hungary’s capital.” Unfortunately Tarlós’s opinion is now that of the Hungarian government as well.

Pál Schmitt resigned today, but he wouldn’t admit to plagiarism. He seems to be convinced that the whole plagiarism case was a political attack concocted by a “blogger.” How this mysterious blogger came into the picture no one knows. HVG is certainly not a blog. I assume that the line of defense developed in Schmitt’s speech is not the product of his own brilliant mind but that the text was written for him by the communication experts of Fidesz. Therefore, I think it is safe to say that the kind of reasoning we find in the speech reflects the communication strategy Fidesz and the Orbán government will pursue in the days to come.

Resignation speech of Pál Schmitt (YouTube)

The main thrust of this strategy is to argue that at a time when Hungary is under such fierce attack from abroad, mostly at the instigation of the domestic enemies of the government of national unity, these same forces decided to undermine the prestige of the president in order to further weaken the Orbán government. Thus, Schmitt is just an innocent victim of a political vendetta.

Damaga control

Such a strategy would nicely supplement the propaganda that is constantly being fed to Fidesz believers about the international financial “mafia” and the liberal and socialist foreign politicians who want to penalize the Hungarian government for levying taxes on the usurious banks and the multinational companies who settled in Hungary only to make themselves rich at the expense of the poor Hungarian people.

The second attack by the government seems to aim at the academic community. From János Lázár’s speech it became evident that he blames the whole Hungarian scientific community for the situation created by the Schmitt case. According to him, Tivadar Tulassay, the president of Semmelweis University, “cannot run away.” He must finish his term, which will end in three months, and take responsibility for what transpired in the university.  Lázár accused the Hungarian academic community of “not facing the fact that before the regime change many degrees were granted without real achievement.” Academe also must be “renewed” just like the Orbán government is “renewing” the whole country.

This renewal of the academic community fits in well with Fidesz’s strident anti-communism, and it strengthens the alleged revolutionary nature of the Orbán regime. A complete break with the past is necessary. Everything that happened before 2010 is tainted and needs investigation. The scientific community is no exception. He pretty well suggested checking every doctoral dissertation written in the Kádár regime or even after.

If I were Lázár or Orbán I wouldn’t pick a fight with the academic community. Behind Tivadar Tulassay stand the students who are demonstrating on his behalf and the powerful Hungarian Medical Association. Moreover, even József Pálinkás, a former Fidesz member of parliament and now president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, immediately responded to Lázár’s suggestions. He announced that there is no capacity or reason to review all doctoral dissertations. In his opinion only a very small percentage of theses contain plagiarized material. In his own field, nuclear research, between 1977 and 1993 there was not one plagiarism case. If a person has doubts about someone else’s doctoral dissertation he should go to the university where the degree was granted where they will do the investigation.

All in all, I would lower the volume. Lázár is not serving the Fidesz cause well by blaming others, members of academe or liberal journalists, for their bad luck with Schmitt. Because, let’s face it, it is Viktor Orbán’s fault that he picked a dolt to be the president who doesn’t even seem to grasp the concept of plagiarism. From the point of view of the government parties the best strategy would be to remain quiet and try to pick a president who is more acceptable to the opposition and large percentage of the population.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
petofi1
Guest

DA-DUM!!
That new President may well be the organ-grinder himself, otherwise known as the ORBANISZTA! In one fell swoop, the impasse with the EU can by solved by Martonyi; the bags of euros can be had; and, should the opposition win in 2014….well! What fun Victor will have sitting in the castle and blithely shipping legislation back by the cart-load!!

The Hungarian Comedian
Guest
The Hungarian Comedian

Funniest letter written, please be patient for Hajos to start reading:


Member

I think Janos Lazar is right! I think a full investigation should be called upon regarding Deutsch, Orban and Kover’s degrees. I also would like to know how did they earn their entry to university.
Also, I think Fidesz is right. Schmitt was the perfect representative of Orban and his government. A cheater, a liar who was incapable to get where he got with fair play. THe only problem Fidesz forgot that Schmitt also should of represents some honorable Hungarians, that he clearly could not, he could only represent Fidesz. They also forget that SChmitt is member of the Olympic Committee… Does fair play ring a bell to these phonies? Are the young Olympians should follow Schmiit’s footsteps. I wish that Lazar and Orban’s kids will turn out just like Schmitt, so capable, and loved by many!

Ex-President Professor Dr Schmitt Pál PhD (withdrawn)
Guest
Ex-President Professor Dr Schmitt Pál PhD (withdrawn)

In Kósastan the response is that this is pure anti-Hungary left/liberal politics – after all “it’s only what everyone else was doing”.
There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Well, this lot have poked both eyes out, put on dark glasses, and turned out the lights, just to be doubly sure that they are right.

Ex-President Professor Dr Schmitt Pál PhD (withdrawn)
Guest
Ex-President Professor Dr Schmitt Pál PhD (withdrawn)

OT – “Amnesty International slams official report on “Roma village” crisis”
http://www.politics.hu/20120401/amnesty-international-slams-official-report-on-roma-village-crisis/
Jeney Orsolya is a brave woman. Thank God there are a few people like this left in Orbánisztán.

Ex-President Professor Dr Schmitt Pál PhD (withdrawn)
Guest
Ex-President Professor Dr Schmitt Pál PhD (withdrawn)

I’m struggling with Google translate and a VERY slow internet connection, but this appears to be the Amnesty (Hu) statement:
http://www.amnesty.hu/amnesty-international/a-romak-diszkriminacioja-ellen/kudarc-a-gyongyospata-bizottsag-felrevezet%C5%91ek-a-kovetkeztetesek
And this appears to be the original report:
http://www.parlament.hu/irom39/06574/06574.pdf
Apologies if I’ve got the wrong links.

cheshire cat
Guest

My comments are
1. it is not true, that this is the way things were done in 1992. 1992 was not the Kadar-era any more. I was at university at the time, and even for a 5-page-seminar essay, we weren’t allowed to just copy pages from someone else’s work, of course! We were told in the first year, what “research” was, and how you indicate your sources.
Maybe for these “funkcionariusok”, it was common practice that they had someone else’s book translated and handed it in as their own work, but then it was disgusting and definitely against the rules.
2. whoever were in charge of accepting this as a doctoral thesis are responsible as well as Schmitt.
3. the explanation that “it is the left-liberal traitors who smuggled the news abroad” is simply childish, and frankly, beginning to be very boring now.
I mean where do they think we are, in the middle ages? You secretly smuggle and spread information out of a country?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

To Cheshire cat, I fully agree with all your points.

Ex-President Professor Dr Schmitt Pál PhD (withdrawn)
Guest
Ex-President Professor Dr Schmitt Pál PhD (withdrawn)

“I mean where do they think we are, in the middle ages?”
Give it another few years…

Member
I always wanted a doctorate. I think my mother and father would be extremely proud if I would have a Dr. in front of my name. SInce Fidesz and many Fidesz supporters have no problem with how things were supposedly done in certain years, I would like someone from the Fidesz answer my questions below: 1. What is the cut-off date for copied and pasted materials submitted as doctorates to be still sufficient? I think I can do a better job as Schmitt, as I would put out all two quotation marks, one before the first line, and the closing quotation after 300 pages also, right before my summary. The title of my doctorate will be the Women Movement and Feminism in the 19th Century Eastern Europe. (I can even now put my source down (Francisca de Haan, Krasimira Daskalova, Anna Loutfi (2006). A Biographical Dictionary of Women’s Movements and Feminisms: Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries. p. 255. ISBN 963-7326-39-1.) 2. Since I did not have the chance at the time to submit the work prior, could it be accepted retroactively, under the standards that were used on Schmitt, Orban, Kover, and Deutsch who received… Read more »
peter litvanyi
Guest

Congatulations Everyone /???/.
TMG about Mr. Schmitt:
http://hvg.hu/velemeny/20120402_tgm_schmitt_bukas
It is a good thing that he is gone. While I think he quit not like a gentleman…anyways he quit and We The People should not belittle our little victories of the day. Perhaps his Boss will take a clue.
On a final note: Mr. Schmitt is right in a way. This affair had very little to do with Ph.d.
He is no longer responsible. Except that he already signed an unconstitutional document called “the new constitution”. Can we forgive him for that?
Sincerely:
Peter Litvanyi

LwiiH
Guest

It’s great that we finally have a “right thing” happening but then as has been pointed out, the negative is that the next puppet will be able to bugger with the next governments agenda. Oh well, one step at a time!

petofi1
Guest

@ Litvanyi…and others who are befuddled by what Schmitt ‘did’…
Yes, not much to do with a bogus PhD…it had to do with
STEALING and LYING which is hardly considered as SINS
in “Christian Hungary”…or if it did, where, pray tell, was the guiding hand of the Great Catholic Church???

Johnny Boy
Guest

I suggest you think twice before you start celebrating over Schmitt’s resignation.
Reasons:
1. It would have been the interest of left-liberals that Schmitt stayed in position. He would have provided the opposition with an endless supply of opportunities to mock the whole right wing, mock him (even though Schmitt, even without Dr, is worth more than all opposition members combined) and point out that the right is “no higher on the moral rankings” than the left.
2. Now Fidesz can come out of this affair stronger, by having proven that the “country without consequences” era is over. Horn, Medgyessy and Gyurcsány each had a much more serious scandal under their belt, yet ALL of them clinged to power. SP’s resignation breaks away from this bolshevik tradition.
3. The new President will be in office for another 5 years – a ‘nice to have’ for the right if they happen to lose in 2014.
So, to sum it all up: Schmitt’s resignation is all bad news for you.

Mutt Damon
Guest

Good points Johnny.
Good to see that the FIDESZ, for the first time, aligns itself with country’s interest. It’s a bit confusing though watching them standing up and clapping when the disgraced signing clown clears the floor – but I take your word for it: no more bad deeds without consequences.
I would rather think this is damaging to Orban and the FIDESZ. It just shows what kind of people Orban prefers to support his regime.
The support they showed actually proves the right is “way below on the moral rankings”. It’s also priceless watching the confused brown nose squad for the first time accidentally telling the truth. Something started?

The Hungarian Comedian
Guest
The Hungarian Comedian

Pretty interesting:
Orban questions the Presidency position today + Video.
http://www.stop.hu/belfold/hoppa-orban-ma-szoba-hozta-az-elnoki-rendszert/1020987/

Hoping
Guest

Johnny.. in fact its good news for “us”. Although the fact that you think that the removal of a cheat and liar is not good news for “us” is very revealing about who you think “we” are. And you make a mistake in calculating the reasons why… exactly because you are calculating.

GW
Guest

Johnny,
Some issues are really above and beyond party political considerations. Having a liar and a thief (plagiarism is lying and theft) in the office of the head of state damages the office and that’s not good for the country and not good for anyone in the country, particularly as an example for Hungary’s children, regardless of party identification. The entire episode is very sad, and everyone should be glad that there’s an opportunity to redress it and place someone above politics with universal respect in the office, although with the 2/3 majority, I fear there is a real possibility that Fidesz will simply scrap the office or allow it to be combined with the head of government (as, coincidently, Hitler did on Hindenburg’s death.)

Member

Johnny Boy: ” Now Fidesz can come out of this affair stronger,” STronger of what? I am sure this is what they telling themselves too.
THey are weak, inconsistent and they cannot even put a proper President in place.
Thank goodness for this affair as Hungarians were able to prove that Fide is a big pile of nothing and with common goals all parties can make them run. THey proved that only thing they will give in is pressure from the morally sound. Without the fantastic collaboration from Hungarians, the Fidesz clowns would still hold Schmitt’s hand and nodding for Orban’s non-sense. Good for HUngarians for seeing what Orban and Fidesz is all about!
As for Johnny Boy’s third point. bahahaha Hungarians just proved that they do not take the Fidesz BS, and when the time comes, they will speak up again. Johnny hold on to your seat for a bumpy ride now.

Member

This is awesome:



I don’t know if it is true, but János Áder is one of the candidates for the presidency …

petofi1
Guest

Coming up next?….Hold on to your hats, it’ll be Mr. Mustache-
It took no more than a minute in the position of interim President for Mr. “Mustach” Kover to fly his true colors: he
turned to his left and addressed the opposition members informing them that they were not worthy to serve in the parliament (I think he meant HIS parliament). Nice specimen
for the countries next, first, gentleman, ain’t he?

Member

Apropos, consequences. Schmitt will be payed by the taxpayers for life: same salary, staffed office, car and driver, protection and god knows what else. It makes me want to be a disgraced politician on Planet Hungary.
I don’t want to be cheap. The fellow is a public figure – car, young secretary are OK (if Mrs Schmitt approves), but paying his wages for life? He should try something … like … gag … MUNKA (work). You know, giving speeches for money, writing an autobiography or coaching fencing.
So, Johnny, you see I have a bit of a problem with these consequences. Especially when the knights of moral started their term with a retroactive law that took away the bonuses of the socialist public servants.

Member

Dr vs Dr
A slew of real doctors (117), the teachers of the Semmelweis University, are behind the decision that withdrew Schmitt’s title. Kick in the jewels to Laser Johnny (Janos Lazar) who suggested in the parliament that the university’s president, Dr. Tulassay was a coward.
http://semmelweis-egyetem.hu/hirek/2012/04/03/a-semmelweis-egyetem-professzorainak-nyilatkozata/
Wait to go docs!

SVN49
Guest

OT. This will be an interesting discussion. Hope they will end up recording it and post it somewhere:
http://www.transatlanticacademy.org/events/2012-04-05/future-western-liberal-order-hungarian-case

Chayenne7
Guest
Maybe I shouldn’t be so shocked by my fellow countrymen’s reactions anymore, but I can’t help it. Here is what somebody who works at MOB and had worked under SP for years said yesterday, after appearing dressed in black, the colour of mourning, like all his collegues at MOB apparently: she feels greatly disappointed in people in general, how they turn their backs on people in need. Also, SP is such a nice, cultivated person, a real gentleman, very intelligent and a pleasure to work with. She and all her collegues respect him very much…etc. What is happening right now is a political attack, a personal vendetta againt SP. Somebody had ordered his political assassination and now the great man has to go. I could go on and on quoting her like this. what is baffling is how there was not a word about the fact that SP had cheated and that this is why he had to go. It seems irrelevant. I can totally accept her description of SP, I told her, and that since she is personally acquinted with SP anything she says about him is by default more valid than what I can ever say about him,… Read more »
The Hungarian Realist (The Hungarian Comedian)
Guest
The Hungarian Realist (The Hungarian Comedian)
Chayenne7: “This is how this game is played!” And you know who suffers at this games? The mothers that have to trade the new food stamps for money with friends and family so they can buy socks for the children. The 4 million that are living month by month where there economy will cave in, running from one job to the other just to keep their heads above the surface to get enough air. The people that have to sell their cars because of the petrol prices and buy scooters to survive, that will have to walk during winter. The people that have pills that are not generic in nature and can’t afford them, where they actually did lower the prices but the pill content was also lowered from 60 to 30 pills effectively making it 60% more expensive. No one thinks of the majority that can barely make ends meet in Hungary. Where their only mode of transportation is Train or Bus. No one stops to think that people are leaving the country, from medical doctors to floor people, because they simply can’t get a job that pays appropriately or can’t get a job at all. Never ever forget,… Read more »
enuff
Guest

If not mistaken Mrs. Schmitt will also continue to enjoy some benefits from the government after Schmitt has gone 6 ft. under.
How could the government justify this expense when average people are facing austerity at home and at work?
So much for country of consequences!

dvhr
Guest

Schmitt would like to be ambassador again, his preferred choice is Washington.
http://index.hu/belfold/2013/03/13/schmitt_szivesen_lenne_ujra_nagykovet/

wpDiscuz