The enigma of foxy political consultants

One of the hard lessons that Unspun received after being a foreign correspondent in Indonesia for a few months was that in this country all political pundits are not to be trusted.

They come with all sorts of impressive credentials, some in think tanks, some with putative grassroots experience and some with academic titles longer than Bangkok’s official title (its Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit).

Whatever their stripe, however, the foreign correspondent soon realizes that they have actually very little clue as to the actual political goings on in the country and its parties.

Unspun‘s hung up his quill and vitriol for over a decade now but things do not seem to have changed so much if the Democrat’s election of its chairman is anything to go by.

Prior to the election and the “surprise” win of Anas Urbaningrum over Marzuki Alie and  Andi Mallerengeng the experts were all chuffed talking about how Andi was the front runner, how SBY was tacitly supporting him and how he’s virtually unassailable because of the not-so-tacit endorsement of SBY’s son Edi Baskoro, who attended the announcement of his candidacy.

What inferences are we mere mortals to draw from all this?


  1. The experts quoted by the media did not know what the hell is happening in the Partai Demokrat
  2. The experts advising SBY did not know what the hell is happening in the Partai Demokrat, and that it is SBY’s usual “action-is-no-action” stance that saved him from an embarrassing endorsement of a loser.
  3. The experts advising Edi Baskoro did not know what the hell is happening in the Partai Demokrat that they allowed him yo endorse Andi Mallarengeng, who not only lost the first round but got trounced in the process
  4. The experts (his brother who heads Fox Communications -) advising Andi Mallerengeng not only did not know what the hell is happening in the Partai Demokrat they misunderstood the whole political process completely to advise him on a campaign that was precise in hitting the wrong target (the public instead of party members and the “ward chiefs”)
  5. The experts in Fox Communications (Malaysian readers note that its is pure coincidence that a political consultancy in Indonesia is also called Fox Communications. I asked someone in the Malaysian Fox and they said that there is absolutely  no connection) that advised Rizal that Advised Andi did not know what the hell is happening in the Partai Demokrat or anywhere for that matter.

Of all these points #4 and #5 is most fascinating as the implications are that Fox, held to be the premier political consultancy in this country don’t quite have a grip on politics. One could argue that its only party politics that they do not understand while having mastery over national politics since they were “responsible” for SBY’s landslide victory. But c’mon. With SBY pitting against a bunch of losers did it take that much of political astuteness to win the election.

And what about Andi’s campaign? Blowing big bucks on outdoor billboards as well as advertisements on TV and printed media was a waste of money from the beginning. Why would anyone deplete their resources, abundant as they may be, in advertising to reach hundreds of thousands of people who are ineligible to vote because they are not members of Partai Demokrat is a mystery to anyone. As usual, when actions are inexplicable, the key to getting to the bottom of it is to ask where did the money go?

3 thoughts on “The enigma of foxy political consultants

Add yours

  1. yes I agree with you,it’s very strange thing to happen at demokrat.I even did not who anas urbaningrum was until he won the election for demokrat chairman as I thought Andi Malaranggeng would won in a landslide given many ads about him on tv.I am guessing something quite teribly wrong had happened in demokrat party now.


  2. Those consultants failed to notice that many Indonesians, incl. those in PD, are sick and tired of what’s happening in the last 15 months i.e very long election campaigns, disputed election results, KPK cases (Antasari/Bibid/Chandra), Prita, Suicide Bombings, war against terrorists, blurred Bank Century case, Gayus & alleged tax crimes (incl. Bakrie), devastating poverty, Sri Mulyani, unfair court verdicts, rising commodity prices, etc, etc, etc … All that, have made us want changes.


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