Der Stillstand

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By this time tomorrow, in all likelihood, Germany will not have a new chancellor. It is one of the world’s most globally significant elections, but it has an informational entropy of nearly zero when it comes to the Chancellorship of Germany. The saving grace is that under Germany’s proportional-representation system, what coalition that Chancellor will have to form in order to govern is a matter at issue. The coalition calculus is such a complicated issue that I hesitate to deal with it here, but it is something that Germans are used to and know how to handle quite stably.


By this time tomorrow, Angela Merkel will likely demonstrate herself the most successful contemporary politician now active in Europe. With a political campaign based almost entirely around her, with ads that present her under soft lighting, giving warm pep talks in soothing tones, “Mutti” makes many German voters feel safe, confident, warm, and protected. Merkel has managed to defer Germany’s share of the reckoning from the financial crisis by loading it entirely onto the straining shoulders of the Eurosouth. Merkel’s campaign slogan: “Gemeinsam erfolgreich” (“together successful”) is not Hope and Change — it is both antonym and synonym to Obama’s slogans at once!

The interesting question is: where is the opposition in all of this? The problem for the main opposition party to Merkel’s CDU, the SPD, is a problem that plagues many social-democratic electoral movements in this day and age. They are unable to articulate an alternative to the neoliberal agenda, because they themselves consummated it. And it’s not clear that they could repudiate it, even if they wanted to. Look with pity upon Fran├žois Hollande: punishment is meted out on those who deviate. The SPD’s campaign slogan: “Das Wir entscheidet” — “the We decides”. What does that even mean? Decides what?

People occasionally compare Merkel to Margaret Thatcher, but it’s not a good comparison. The two have completely different styles, and the CDU is not a right-wing party in the same sense as Thatcher Tories. But their middle names? Somehow, both TINA.

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This page contains a single entry by Mandos published on September 22, 2013 8:06 PM.

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