Black Yellow Win in Germany

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0,1020,520420,00.jpgGerman exit poll results are in.
Looks like Germany may have its first out gay German Foreign Minister in Guido Westerwelle, who I think will do an excellent job in the role. Can’t wait until he meets Iran’s President Ahmadinejad in his official duties.
The CDU and FDP will have 320 seats together in a Black Yellow coalition, and they may actually have 324 seats given the peculiarities of the German election system of adding seats to the Parliament because of what are called overhang seats.
The approximate results in % terms are CDU 33.5%, SPD 22.5%, FDP 15.0%, Linke 12.5%, Greens 10.5%, Pirates 2.0%, Other parties 4%
That’s right. Pirates. These are the anti party political party who generally oppose government. 2.0%
But the change factor is important and fascinating.
The Social Democrats have fallen 11.7%. The CDU under Merkel has fallen only 1.7%.
The FDP has surged 5.2% since last elections, and the Greens are up 2.4% while the former Communists Linke Party is also up 3.8%. And the Pirates were at zero last time and are now up 2.0% in the strange collectiveäs debut.
The Grand Coalition is over.
Steve Clemons

Comments

20 comments on “Black Yellow Win in Germany

  1. arthurdecco says:

    “Make no mistake about it, Westerwelle is a conservative, free-market NUT JOB (emphasis added).” WigWag
    That goes a long way towards explaining his opinions on Israel and the rest of the Middle East too, doesn’t it?
    And Steve….? I thought the whole point behind the struggle for equality and fairness for homosexuals was to make “gayness” a non-issue – irrelevant to the matter under discussion – to wit – Is this man up to the job?
    Shame on you for both encouraging and displaying a stereotypical approach to this man’s sexual preference.
    I thought we were all well beyond by now here at TWN.

    Reply

  2. Dan Kervick says:

    Nadine, your comment is not on point. I’m not interested in telling people much about what they can and cannot buy. Nor do I want governments to own production facilities and get heavily involved in the nitty gritty of what should be produced and marketed.
    But I do want more political activism in designing the legal rules according to which corporations govern their businesses and participate in the marketplace. Most people have never had anyone in the government point a gun at them. But they do go to work everyday in an non-participatory authoritarian workplace in which they have little control over their own lives, and which they work like dogs to make other people rich. If you think they feel like “free” men and women in these environments, I doubt you are intimately familiar with them.
    The legal structures that govern the contemporary corporate environment are historically contingent, and far from socially optimal. They preserve a racket that brings stupendous benefits to the few by subjugating and exploiting the many. These rules can and should be changed for the sake of social utility. New rules will bring new limits to the liberties of a few, but expand the liberty of many more.

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  3. nadine says:

    Dan, oh please, not another lecture on false consciousness. What all the indoctrinated rubes realize and you don’t is that coorporations have to offer a service that they customer wants to buy, but government can enforce its will at the point of a gun. Whether I eat at McDonald’s is my choice. Whether I pay my taxes or obey state regulations is not. The rubes think they have more liberty at McDonalds than with the government. They are right.

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  4. WigWag says:

    Guido Westerwelle’s selection as Foreign Minister of Germany will bring joy to Israelis and unhappiness in Turkey (at least to the Turkish Government).
    Westerwelle considers himself a strong supporter of Israel and has ruled out negotiating with Hamas (at least until it meets the Quartet conditions)
    Several years ago Westerwelle visited Yad Vashem and gave a very moving speech there. In 2002, a former political rival in the FDP, the late Jürgen Möllemann, called Westerwelle *excessively pro-Israel* and actually suggested he was working with the Mossad (to be precise, he claimed he was being extorted by the Mossad). Just this past May, in an interview with Spiegel Online International (05/08/2009), Westerwelle said,
    “Because of its past, Germany cannot take a neutral position in the Middle East… I went to Israel as a young man, and I also visited the Golan Heights when I was there. Anyone who has stood in that spot knows — understands immediately — how narrow and vulnerable the small country of Israel is…We as Europeans cannot force anyone to make peace, or behave as if we know what is best for all regions of the world.”
    In the same interview, this is what Westerwelle said about admitting Turkey to the EU,
    “Turkey is not in a position to join at the moment, nor is the EU in a position to accept it as a member…”
    Make no mistake about it, Westerwelle is a conservative, free-market nut job. He actually ruled out any potential coalition with either the SDP or the Greens. This is what Westerwelle said about coalition partners before the election,
    “I see no basis for an alliance with the SPD and the Green Party.”
    On the domestic front in Germany, Westerwelle has been awfully far to the right. He’s called trade unions “a plague on our country” and he’s called trade union leaders the “the pall-bearers of the welfare state and of the prosperity in our country.”
    Westerwelle’s political party, if it were in the United States, would undoubtedly be the preferred political party of the Club for Growth. Weseterwelle himself reminds me of no one so much as a German version of Steve Moore, the Club for Growth founder.
    Westerwelle disagrees with Steve Clemons about Israel and Turkey and about almost every other foreign and domestic policy issue I can think of. So what is it that Steve find’s so laudable about Westerwelle?
    I do think it’s a little unfair to say that he isn’t qualified for the job of Foreign Minister. After all, Westerwelle is clearly as qualified for that job as Barack Obama was for the job he was elected to.
    The other thing interesting about the German election is that it represented yet another nail in the coffin of the left in Europe. France recently rejected the leftist parties in favor of Sarkozy; now Merkel’s newly elected coalition in Germany will be significantly to the right of the previous Merkel coalition.
    The recent elections to the EU Parliament were overwhelmingly won by right wing, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim parties in Europe and Great Britain is poised to elect a conservative government led by David Cameron (Cameron by the way is extraordinarily pro-Israel). Add to this, the conservative nature of the regimes in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and it seems that the left in Europe is in extremis.
    How sad.

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  5. Dan Kervick says:

    “Or do you think, only politicians who speak English as a native language shoud have the prerogative to answer questions in the language they are most competent in?”
    The reporter asked Westerwelle if he would answer, in German, a question posed in English, and he refused.

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  6. Johannes says:

    When was the last time Obama gave an interview in French, German or any other language? Does he even speak any foreign language? Surely, he can’t be a good diplomat either *shakes head*
    Or do you think, only politicians who speak English as a native language shoud have the prerogative to answer questions in the language they are most competent in?

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  7. Dan Kervick says:

    “He did not even want to hear it: “We are in Germany here, so speak German”. That makes a great diplomat! I thought those days are over.”
    But I’m sure he is eminently qualified to conduct his country’s foreign relations.

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  8. MarcBerlin says:

    That Guido Westerwelle is gay is pretty much the only thing I can appreciate about him. It says more about Germany (in a good way) than about his qualification for the job. Today he refused to respond to an English question by a BBC reporter. He did not even want to hear it: “We are in Germany here, so speak German”. That makes a great diplomat! I thought those days are over.

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  9. Outraged American says:

    Dan, read “American Dynasty” by Kevin Phillips, reformed architect
    of the “Reagan Revolution.” IIRC-He cites statistics proving what
    you just typed, but I read the book years ago before I started using
    so I might be wrong.

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  10. JamesL says:

    Top form Mr. Kervick. Top form! A friend of mine terms the tendency to internalize the views of those with whom one would like to identify with, to the extent they will gladly vote against one’s own best interests, as “pludentity”.
    Particularly enjoyed the part about the sunglasses.
    Yes Steve, Captcha is back to its old crotchety self of several months ago that I thought you had exorcized. Find another incantation that will set it straight please.

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  11. daCascadian says:

    Masterfully put Mr. Kervick, thank you. I do fear how few will take it to heart.
    “I feel the American worker has been sacrificed to the capitalist idols in the ancient Mayan fashion.” – Sue Lamb
    [Captcha is crap; doesn’t know what it displays – 3rd attempt]

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  12. Dan Kervick says:

    Plato might have had some shrewd things to say about the more direct form of democracy practiced in Athens, but he didn’t foresee the most fundamental problem with the representative form of democracy practiced in very large modern countries like the United States. As Roy notes, it now takes $1.4 million, on average, to secure a seat in the House of Representatives. In such a system for the allotment of legislative positions, generally only the most wealthy will be able to afford to buy one – whether for themselves, or as more usually happens, for some hungry and ambitious protege. I don’t think Plato envisioned a place like America where almost the entire national legislature consists of paid employees of a relatively small ruling plutocracy.
    Plato did recognize the problem posed by the general lack of wisdom among the demos, and the latter’s extreme susceptibility to demagoguery and sophistry. If anything, he probably underestimated the scarring social and psychological effects of entrenched patterns of domination and subordination; the extreme stubborn attraction of the slavish personality to officially approved ideologies; and the subordinated individual’s abject and fervent need to please his master, to grovel and to adopt attitudes that will win the master’s approval. The slave internalizes the master’s contempt toward his subject, and then actively works to preserve his own subordination.
    In America, the subordinated mass have internalized a “small government” ideology tailor made to preserve and extend the power of the plutocracy. The dupes fret, rail and fuss endlessly about the power of the officers, magistrates and bureaus officially designated as the “government”, and yet think nothing is amiss in the vast power possessed by the individuals and corporate collections of individuals who *actually govern* their lives, and govern the course of our society. They think this is “freedom” or “liberty”. They would prefer to complain about the galley slave sitting next to them who doesn’t row as hard and gets an extra ration of moldy bread, than to complain about the people who chained them both the galley floor.
    Many Americans thus assist in the process of their own subordination by adopting an ideology which teaches them systematically to deny themselves the power to take charge of their own lives. Rather than seek to *become* the government, and then turn the government into a powerful force to depose the existing plutocrats, and check the rise of new ones, they have internalized the plutocrats’ fear of popular government, and treat it as their own enemy.
    Even as they are robbed blind by Wall Street, even as they complain bitterly about it; it never seems to occur to them to do anything serious about it in the political sphere. And that is because, at bottom, they possess a theological faith in the divinely appointed rightness of their own subordination. They have internalized their master’s contempt for his slave, and accept cooperative believe in their own inherent inferiority.
    As a result of the iron grip of plutocratic rule, and the unbreakable hold of slavish ideologies on the American mind, our hopes for progressive change are frequently confined to petitionary prayers offered up to “high octane” plutocrats, who could employ a man for a month on the price they could fetch for a single pair of their sunglasses, in the hopes that our rulers will be moved by humanitarian impulses to toss of few crumbs of their superfluity down on everyone else.

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  13. questions says:

    Dan,
    Plato had democracy pegged as the second most corrupt form of government, with tyranny right after as the worst.
    As soon as you live for yourself above others, as soon as your craft is YOU and your desires, you and all around you are lost. The tyrant is just the most effective at enacting his desires. Of course he won’t really get what he wants, either, but he’ll have the illusion for a time. And that illusion is powerful stuff.
    So if we’ve been a democracy, and if Plato is right, tyranny is around the corner, unless it’s here already.
    Maybe we should turn to Aristotle?!

    Reply

  14. Dan Kervick says:

    The occasion of a German election might be a good time to reflect on the sham of modern liberal democracy. Here’s a new essay by Arundhati Roy:
    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175119/arundhati_roy_is_democracy_melting_
    “The question here, really, is what have we done to democracy? What have we turned it into? What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has metastasized into something dangerous? What happens now that democracy and the free market have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of maximizing profit?”

    Reply

  15. Dan Kervick says:

    “…Guido Westerwelle, who I think will do an excellent job in the role.”
    Well, he thinks trade unions are a plague on Germany. So I guess he’s a German-style Log Cabin Republican, and is not a fan of a “new social contract”, of the kind Steve has been calling for. But he’s gay and a Spasspolitiker, so yippee!
    I’m sure he can handle the Foreign Ministry, though that is not his field. I mean, it’s only foreign policy, so how hard can it be?

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  16. Steve Clemons says:

    MNPundit — a lot of folks will say that about Guido because he’s a
    politician first, foreign policy strategist maybe 9th…but he’s very
    smart, cautious, creative. I know him pretty well. My friend Matt
    Yglesias is great — but I don’t think he’s spent any time with
    Westerwelle who has people like Werner Hoyer and Robert von
    Rimscha around him…as well as others. Hoyer will be State
    Secretary I think — and that is a great stabilizer.
    best, steve

    Reply

  17. MNPundit says:

    You do? Yglesias thinks he has 0 experience and is only in the roll because that’s what German tradition states. In other words, that’s he a neophyte at it.

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  18. brigid says:

    It will be great to have the gay German foreign minister get nice and cozy with the racist right winger foreign minister, Lieberman, from Israel. I hope the day is coming when the EU begins to enact sanctions on Israel over their colonization and ethnic cleansing policies.

    Reply

  19. Enon says:

    The Pirate Party doesn’t oppose gov’t, it wants to drag gov’t into
    the 21st century.
    “The party favors the civil right to information privacy and
    reforms of copyright, education, computer science and genetic
    patents.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Pirate_Party
    In the twentieth century, when moving information was tied to
    moving atoms, infringing copyright took deliberate action. In
    the twenty-first century, now that moving information is tied to
    moving bits, it is difficult to get through the day without
    inadvertently infringing copyright.
    The Democratic Party in the U.S. is full of copyright maximalists
    like Biden. It’s one area where they are the greater evil party,
    being more tied to Hollywood than the Republicans.

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  20. Outraged American says:

    Translate that into American Steve: what does it mean for the
    average shmuck out here in fly-over land?
    I was forced to learn German by a boyfriend who was trying to
    give me.. directions, which is probably why I picked-up Yiddish
    so easily, but I seriously don’t understand the meaning of one
    word you just wrote.
    What does this mean in terms of Germany’s involvement in our
    various financial and humanitarian misadventures? I have said
    before, but anyone who’s over 100 would know this, the Huns
    always love them a good war.
    What does this mean for “sanctions”: *ROLLS EYES, SHRUGS
    SHOULDERS, AND SPITS IN THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF
    WASHINGTON* on Iran?
    Merkel is a f*cktard — is she still in? I could go look it up but
    it’s so much more fun to see Steve sweat, bow and try to explain
    things to us losers in his Turning Japanese way.

    Reply

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