President Shimon Peres these days casually dismisses talk of his return to politics as “mere speculation. I myself never said anything.” He rarely does. He just enjoys the hype. He relishes the buildup, the attention and excitement.
But, despite the thrill and flattery, there really is no way Peres would have fallen for the dubious temptations tossed his way to headline a new Knesset list – perhaps a reborn Kadima – with Tzipi Livni as his number two.
It would have been a perfect pretext to allow Livni to climb down from her claim to top-billing, regardless with whom she might run. Her hubris notwithstanding, she surely never possessed the drawing power to field a ticket exclusively reliant on her own charisma. Any potential running mates are unlikely to yield the primacy to her, based on nothing but her own high self-esteem.
Therefore, Peres definitely is just what her spin doctors might prescribe – a big-time name, for whose sake it would be no dishonor to vacate first slot. At the same time, as a very elder statesman, Peres is presumed to present no long-term political threat. It can get no better – but only for Tzipi.
Trouble is, there’s nothing in it for Peres.
Besides the fact that he has never won a national election, he cannot possibly surpass the renown which titular head-of-state status confers upon him. It’s the ultimate career-culminating rank. It enables him to satisfy his yen for globetrotting, for rubbing shoulders with the international who’s who, the literati and glitterati, the news-makers and opinion-shapers. The world is his oyster and there’s plenty of opportunity for making mischief too, which has always Peres’s particular penchant. Continue reading