It’s a well-known statement by Mark Root’s favorite political writer, Robert Caro: “Power is not always corrupt, and power is always revealing.” Give someone power and you will see who they are.
What will be revealed when Ruti first gains power in 2010 – after a slim electoral victory over Job Cohen’s PvdA – during the formation of the government?
His choice to form a minority government with the Christian Democrats, tolerated by the one-man PVV, looks like a risky gamble for a new prime minister. The building is also very unstable: just two years later, Rutte I caught fire in the midst of an economic crisis.
However, the experience of forgiveness reveals a quality of Rutte that is often useful in his career: an insight into his political chances of survival.
In 2010, the “left-handed” cabinet with PvdA, D66 and GroenLinks presents a greater risk to Rutte than an agreement with PVV. Then he will be attacked for four years by Wilders and CDA on his right side, already vulnerable because his former internal rival Rita Verdonk has successfully described him as ‘not really really’.
Job Cohen is a victim of Rutte’s political considerations. If talks with Wilders and the Christian Democrats fail, the PvdA leader is contacted to talk about a new government.
Soon thereafter, Rutte changed course very quickly when the leader of the Christian Democrats and Wilders’ enemy, Ab Klink, abruptly resigned. Wilders was lured by a text message (“the ashtray is being cleaned”) to return to the table, as Sheila Sitalsing describes in her book Mark. Cohen later sent a text message to no avail: “Mark, I’ve had enough of Wilders. We’ve been talking, right?”
Behind the scenes, Cohen will remain amazed at the way he is being ruthlessly ostracized. does not help. The PvdA leader will leave politics in 2012.
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