I wish Arik Sharon hadn't left the Likud. But I'll vote for him.
Sharon may have been a good prime minister, but he was a bad leader of his party. A better one would have avoided such a predicament. What has happened in Israel this week is unheard-of in the annals of democratic politics. In what other country has a head of state ever bolted an established political party that would have re-nominated him, and at whose helm he was sure to be returned to office with a large majority, in favor of a new one with which he might lose?
True enough, had Sharon stayed in the Likud, he would have faced another term as prime minister with a rebellious parliamentary faction that he would have had difficulty controlling. But it's a prime minister's job to control his own party, and Sharon had all the tools of politics and patronage to do it with. Current surveys show that, running in the next election without him, the Likud will lose over half of its strength. In what other country did a political party ever volunteer to be decimated at the polls?
It shouldn't have happened. And had Arik Sharon treated the members of his own party as he should have, it wouldn't have. Had he bothered, over the past three years, to explain to them, argue with them, persuade them, appeal to them, flatter them, reward them - in short, to make them feel respected and treated as partners - rather than simply hand down his diktats, they wouldn't have encouraged him to leave the driver's seat of their bus and collectively jump off the bridge that it was crossing.
Sharon lost much of the Likud, not because of the disengagement from Gaza, but because he thought Likudniks were too dumb to understand why disengagement was a good idea. As any psychologist can tell you, there's a lot of humiliation and anger behind most suicides.
WELL, THAT'S all spilled milk now - but then again, it isn't. Compared to the Likud, the new party Sharon is founding might be likened to an unbroken horse...