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I am still not so sure. Gerhards actions yesterday were merely an attempt to put Merkel out of the running and it may well work. I still hold to my prediction of Ampel (SPD/Greens/FDP) and I think Joe might well win his beers with the Gerhard remains Kanzler bet. Two weeks is a long time in politics.

BTW The Greens (pressekonferenz) have seemingly pointed out that Merkel will not be Kanzlerin with their help and that a Jamaica coalition is out. Interesting is that so far in all interviews with the Greens on a possible Jamaica coalition the criticism is always based against woorking with the CDU/CSU. So far I havent heard the Greens say that they wouldnt work with the FDP. Has anyone read this anywhere?

Now I know that Guido W has spoken against the Ampel but he seems to have more to lose by Neuwahl, because the FDP were the real winners yesterday.

In Germany the Kanzler/in has to win the parliament vote and with the choice of the 2 certainly Gerhard has a greater chance of getting in, whether he has to run a minority government or not. Another sign that Joe might be winning the beers.

Not the Greens. Please. Not the Greens.

David and Ray: Do you have/can you get - numbers on voter turnout? I'm curious as to whether voter turnout was higher in the former East Germany than in the West.

Thanks. (This really sucks doesn't it?)

Note from David: Voter participation in all of Germany was 77.7 % (2002: 79.1 %). Didn't find the east-west distribution of participation yet. Perhaps someone else can do some research...

My condolences.

Yes, Dresden will be important. Every vote counts. Or maybe it doesn't:

+++ 10.000 ungültige Stimmen durch Wahlpanne +++
[13.50] Eine Wahlpanne in Dortmund sorgt für zusätzliche Verwirrung bei der Einschätzung der Wahlergebnisse. In Dortmund wurden bei der Briefwahl mehr als 10.000 ungültige Stimmen registriert, weil bei der Versendung von Briefwahlunterlagen die Wahlzettel zweier Dortmunder Wahlkreise vertauscht worden waren. "Wir haben einen kapitalen Bock geschossen. Eine Wahlanfechtung steht allemal im Raum", sagte der Leiter des Dortmunder Amtes für Statistik und Wahlen, Ernst-Otto Sommerer, im Gespräch mit der Nachrichtenagentur AP."
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,375314,00.html

Remember the German media reactions, when these mistakes happened in the US in November 2004?

And to think many Americans believe Germans lack a sense of humor.

And to think many Americans believe Germans lack a sense of humor.

Did you hear about the guy with a kidney stone?
He was in tremendous pain.

For English-only readers: Here's some background on Atlanticus' post:
-------------
Some of Saxony's votes have yet to be cast. In its capital city, Dresden, about half the voters will cast their ballots on October 2, due to a two-week postponement for one of Dresden's two Bundestag seats after the death, as it happens, of an NPD candidate. Her name must be replaced on the ballots

link

http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=26&story_id=23765&name=Neo%2DNazis+crushed+in+German+general+elections

(I really need to get up to speed on HTML)

regarding German Schadenfreude about the election in 2000 in the USA..
I was here in Germany at the time and there was ALOT

SO.. let me gloat and give all the Germans my reaction
HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA

no, seriously I am still here and the situation in Germany is very concerning.
I really was hoping for a change and I hope they can get there act together..
But please allow me one minute of Schadenfreude...

What's the size of the population of Dresden that has yet to vote? What possible changes could it deliver to the results that are out right now?

And I thought Florida in 2000 was remarkable....

So this was an "American election" in yet another manner? ;)

Richard North of EU Referndum on the election:
______
With two key issues - the Turkish accession negotiations and the EU budget - claiming attention, and many more besides including the failed constitution, the "colleagues" more than anyone wanted a clear result. What they got is paralysis - the worst of all possible outcomes not least because, when there is a power vacuum at the heart of a system, it can be filled in unfortunate and unpredictable ways.
________

link

http://www.eureferendum.blogspot.com/

Great post David, as an american born in Germany, I try to keep up with what is going on. Your posts help. The German budget is overloaded with pork as is the American budget, tying the two together is why I linked with a trackback.

Again, thanks for all the hard work and for keeping us up to date.

@ Pamela

" One step backwards for Germany, one giant step backwards for mankind"

Someone said something to that effect many yaers ago? :)

A Jamaica coalition is unlikely.

Fischer is pragmatic enough to go for it, but the rest of his party and his electorate won't.
Also, there is a significant anti-green sentiment in the CSU with the ever-scheming Edmund Stoiber who obstructed Merkel in the elections already and will step it up in the future.

Excuse me guys, but it's completely pathetic to compare Dresden with Florida. The situation in Dresden can only change the result in a slightly interesting way, if:

1.)
About 100% of all people with voting rights actually
use this right (usually about 75% up to 80% do so).

2.)
91% of this voters vote for the SPD. (In Dresden
usually 25% up to 30% do so).

3.)
If "only" say 91% of all possible voters really
vote, then ALL of them have to vote for the SPD.

Even if the SPD would win all this votes it would nevertheless change nothing. The same coalitions as before would still be possible. The chancellor is elected by the Bundestag (the parliament), usually by a coalition. So your comparison with your in an outstanding way chaotic Florida election is really, really poor.

@Ben

Nobody is really comparing Dresden with Florida. Florida has a long history of democracy for a start.

Read this:

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,375430,00.html

"Doch die Wirrungen des deutschen Wahlrechts könnten in Dresden zu völlig unverhofften Resultaten führen. Wie die Autoren der Internetseite wahlrecht.de vorrechnen, könnte ein zu hoher Stimmanteil für die CDU dazu führen, dass die Union nicht ein Mandat gewinnt, sondern eines verliert. Dazu würde es schon kommen, wenn weniger Wähler als im Jahr 2002 erneut ihre Zweitstimme für die CDU geben würden - statt knapp 50.000 bei der vergangenen Wahl diesmal nur rund 41.000.

Das als negative Stimmgewicht bekannt gewordene Phänomen, so wahlrecht.de, würde dazu führen, dass aufgrund der bundesweiten Verrechnung der Zweitstimmenanteile die Union am Ende mit einem Mandat weniger da steht. Gewinnt die CDU in Sachsen mehr als 41.000 Stimmen, passiert Folgendes: Rein rechnerisch gewinnt sie aufgrund der zusätzlichen Zweitstimmen ein Mandat hinzu. Dieses Mandat spielt jedoch keine Rolle, da in Sachsen bereits drei Überhangmandate existieren. Durch das neue Mandat schrumpft die Zahl der Überhangmandate auf zwei - an der absoluten Zahl der in Sachsen errungenen Mandate ändert das also nichts.

Dafür geht jedoch in Nordrhein-Westfalen ein Mandat verloren. Grund ist das Wahlverfahren: Die Zweitstimmenanteile der Parteien in den Bundesländern müssen laut Wahlrecht in einem hochkomplizierten Schlüsselsystem gegeneinander angerechnet werden. Legt eine Partei in einem Bundesland stark zu, sinkt der relative Wert ihrer im übrigen Deutschland errungenen Stimmen. In NRW kommt die CDU bis jetzt dank einer Aufrundung der Zweitstimmenanteile auf 47 Mandate. Mit den zusätzlichen Stimmen aus Sachsen würde jedoch das Gewicht der CDU-Zweitstimmen in NRW schrumpfen. Dort müsste dann abgerundet werden - die CDU hätte nur noch 46 Mandate. Das absurde Ergebnis: Eine starke CDU in Dresden könnte die CDU im Bund ein Mandat kosten."

So its not about the SPD cleaning up with near on 90% its about a pretty crazy situation in Dresden.

Florida was just media hype and stress with an overweight crapumentury director trying to make a statement. The Schadenfreude here is just that the German election isnt running efficiently either. Things like this happen. Its democracy but only if it happens in the USA is it a conspiracy or chaos.

Here is an interesting comment.

“It is clear that Germans do not want Mrs. Merkel as their chancellor," SPD chief Franz Muentefering told a news briefing. "We have a responsibility to make clear that we want to rule with Mr. Schroeder as chancellor and implement much of that which we have undertaken to do."

So if I am to understand this correctly Mr. Schroeder got less votes than Mrs. Merkel but what the people of Germany were really saying is they wanted Gerhard.

This really is an interesting way to look at the results. It is probably some form of German logic, which Americans fail to understand. Being able to understand this logic might explain why Germany is the way it is today.

The other thing that caught my eye was the use of the word “rule”. An American would find this offensive. Americans are not ruled we are governed. In fact our government is one of the people and by the people. This sounds very elitist.

It also bring up the question of just what has Gerhard actually taken up to do. Since becoming the “ruler” of Germany the economy has remained stagnate and joblessness has increased. In fact, in 7 years of this "rule" things are actually worse rather than better.

How much longer does Gerhard need as “ruler” to accomplish these undertakings?


BTW please keep my beer cold. This is looking better and better. Hang in there Gerhard

.

@Joe

Franz at the Press Conference today was citing the SPD as the largest party by 1 simple trick: He was treating the CDU and the CSU as seperate parties. This one could go to the constitutional court of what decides a party, what decides and election union and who gets the first chance to be Kanzler/in.

Certainly the SPD could go for a minority government and get a Kanzler Gerhard. A Kanzlerin Merkel wont get unless the Greens join up. Looks unlikely while the PDS / L might support an SPD Kanzler to form a minority govt.

The beer is looking good for you me thinks. Cheers

@joe
>> An American would find this offensive

An American would lock and load.

Pamela,

Ture!

Happy thoughts for you and a suggestion.

It is very possible depending on how determined the Union and FDP are your beloved Greens might be out of government. With their disappearance from the national stage as well as their 68 er leader Jacko getting a bit long in the tooth, might not help their prosepects in the future. In fact, I am willing to predict they will be replaced by the new hard left. This new party would seem to be natural allies of the reds once today’s leaders of these two factions depart. So you could in 2008 the real choices might be red and real red on one side and black yellow on the other.

Should I be wrong, then before the Greens regulate lobster, I might suggest you take advantage of the below at Old Ebbitt Grill. I intend to do that some time the latter part of October.

http://www.clydes.com/main/MenusList.cfm?Restaurant=Old_Ebbitt_Grill&submit=Submit

BUT by being wrong, I sure will be able to drink a lot of beer.

*g*

Could this be a semantic issue? My two years of high school German are decades in the past, but maybe German doesn't make the same distinction as English between 'rule' and 'govern'. A German word might have been mistranslated, or a German giving a briefing in English might have misspoken.

Pamela, I hope you're right about how an American would react to being 'ruled', but there are those on both sides of the Atlantic who are building roads to serfdom.

So what you are telling me ... the Germans voted for Gerhard before they voted against him.

Hmm………I have heard something like that before….

Who said that?

> The Schadenfreude here is just that the German
> election isnt running efficiently either.

Americans commenting German politics. Oh my god. In fact the elections run efficiently, the results are indeed very clear, every party knows its share. In Florida this did not happen for several weeks, so your "Schadenfreude" is just pathetic.

The only problem for the local politicans is, that they all have to gamble and to find unusual partners to turn the election result finally into a successful coalition. Everyone can lose this match, everyone can win, and this is may be in fact very good.
Whoever becomes the next chancellor: he or she really deserves it. A chancellor Merkel must convince the Greens to help her forging a CDU-FDP-Green coalition or she has to manage that Schröder's SPD turns him down. On the other side a chancellor Schröder would have to beat Merkel or forge a SPD-FDP-Green coalition. (This seems nearly impossible. The FDP said very clearly that they won't support the Red-Green coalition.)

The next chancellor will be an excellent negotiator because excellent negotiations are the main key to win the next chancellorship. But whether a CDU-FDP-Green or a "grand coalition" govern the land, they will have a strong mayority in both chambers of the parliament (Bundestag and Bundesrat) for several years, something which does not happen very often and will make the next coalition in fact a very, very strong one.

Ben,

Do you believe that? I guess you must, you wrote it.

Joe,

as you said: I wrote it, I believe it. If you are not convinced, just tell me where I may be wrong in your opinion.

@Pamela,

Concerning the Greens, did you notice that, despite this time losing a small percentage of their 2002 share, they would nonetheless have a role to play in three of the four possibilities:

1. SPD, Greens, FDP
2. SPD, Greens, Linke
3. SPD, CDU
4. CDU, FDP, Greens

The biggest winner yesterday was the Linke, but they have only a small chance of being included in government. If both Schroeder and Merkel are replaced as leaders of their respective (losing) parties, that would leave Fischer as the senior politician. I'm trying to think of something to make your evening better, but...

Ben,

First of all I hope you are correct about the possible performance of a new government which results from this election. No one wants to see the continued decline that is ocurring today in Germany.

Where I think you are wrong is both in the reforms and the speed in which they might be passed into law. The devil really is in the details.

The last time something like this happened in Germany the outcome was less than satisfactory.

For this even to have a chance to effect real change and to work it would seem almost to require both Angie and Gerhard to step aside. I cannot see Gerhard doing this. I do not think his ego will allow it.

Even so, this would be both a very weak and unstable government with all parties looking for an advantage for the next election cycle. It would also probably be a boom for both the new left and the FPD. I am not sure how it would effect the Greens.

So this was the worst possible outcome from this election. The people of Germany did not give a clear indication of the direction they truely want to go nor did they give any party a manidate to take a particular path.

From what I have been able to read today it would seem my view is more accurate than yours, real reform has stopped. I realize this could change going forward and your position might be the one which produces results. Hope so.

It would of course, had been better if there was a clear majority for either party. This would probably be better even if the party you supported was now in government. Unfortuantely, this has not happened. (BTW should Gerhard will lead the new government because if he does I get beer.) What this has done is caused questions of stabliity and added a lot of uncertainity just when either of these were needed.

I do like the sense of hope you display. I think that is one of the things which was missing in this election.

@joe

This is what Muentefering said:

"Die SPD, wir wollen regieren. wir wollen mit Schröder als Bundeskanzler regieren"
"regieren" means "govern"; "rule" would have been "herrschen". You might want to check your sources more carefully.

As for the special German logic you mention, that was quite obviously a case of an SPD leadership and ex-chancellor on drugs and denying reality.

But then again, we all know that the Germans are all just a bunch of sectarian collectivist nazi-monkeys, don't we?

hfd94gk,

Thanks. Then the quote I read was wrong.

And no I do not beleive part of what you wrote. I do think Germans are sectarian and collectivist but that does not make them all that much different than most Europeans.

And Andy point out the logic of the statement about being the perferred choice for chancllor.

I would say having done a bit of research today about how parties are funded the spd might just have a point. The funding chart I saw had one line for the spd and 2 lines for the Union.

So is the Union one party or two? Who would make the determination as to would have the first opportuinity in Berlin to form a new government when the new parliment is formed? The President or the courts?

@joe

The president nominates a candidate* who could theoretically be any German above 18 years of age. To become chancellor, more than half the members of the Bundestag would have to vote for him/her.

If the president's candidate doesn't get the necessary votes, the Bundestag can, within 14 days, elect somebody else (again, German and 18+). If all attempts to elect a new chancellor have failed, then after the 14-day period the Bundestag has to hold yet another election for chancellor. Should the winner of that election have gained the votes of more than half the members of the Bundestag, the president has to appoint him/her chancellor within 7 days.

If (s)he only has a plurality, then the president can either appoint him anyway or dissolve the Bundestag -> new elections.

The rest of the cabinet is appointed by the president according to "suggestions" by the chancellor.

* So far, this candidate has in most (all?) cases been the leader of a coalition of parties that together have a majority of seats in the Bundestag.

PS. Translating all that was quite a lot of work. And I didn't remember how complicated the election process was.

The funny/sad thing is that all commentators I've seen on TV in the last few days got it totally wrong.

@joe:

So legally nobody, not even the leader of the largest party or parliamentary group, is entitled to form a new government or be the president's nominee. And whether the CDU/CSU are one or two parties doesn't matter at all.

The only thing that matters is who has the support of the largest number of MPs.

Joe,

the only country that really cares about the direction the people truely want to go, is the Swiss Confederation. All other nations have their "representative" politicans.

It is possible to form a new and stable government, in fact the close result and Schröder's claim for the chancellorship even raised the chance to get a good government. This sounds illogical, but isn't. FDP and Greens encourage reforms much more than the big ones. They don't like each other, but they have many things in common:

1.) Both want more transparency. (They fought successful for a kind of german freedom for information act in 2004. The FDP circumvented its rejection in the 2nd chamber of the parliament, the Bundesrat.)

2.) Both want to abolish the general conscription, something which is much overdue. (Germany's college students are the oldest ones, not only, but also because they lose one year due to their military service.)

3.) They both try to abolish overboarding formalities and bureaucracy for small and middle-sized companies, which are in fact the main employers in Germany.

There are many other items where they have things in common. There is a reason for that. Don't think the Greens are only some bunch of retared hippies. The Financial Times Deutschland once rated the economical ideas of the greens as the best and most consistent of all parties. In fact their members are wealthier than those of any other party (while in 1982 they had been poorer than the members of any other party). Both parties, FDP and Greens have many supporters in a very agile and successful part of the middle class who suffer at most from the entrepeneur-hostile bureaucracy.

The main problem of clever entrepreneurs in Germany was that neither the Greens nor the FDP had been very successful against their big counterparts SPD and CDU in establishing the reforms. (In fact the bigger corporations love bureaucracy very much since it holds away the competition of their smaller opponents).
But this time the situation differs. Now Angela Merkel will be forced to form a coalition by inviting the Greens or losing the chancellorship. On the other hand she is not a small and stupid girl, no, she will fight as good as possible, but to win, she must get the greens into a coalition. The only way to get them into a coalition is to give them many political concessions. To avoid upsetting the FDP the only way to do so is to give the Greens those kind of gifts that the FDP demands too. Merkel is not that kind of old-fashioned conservative, so she may actually do so. That's the reason why we may get the most innovative government which is even possible for the next years, together with a big mayority in both chambers of the parliament.

If the result of the CDU had been 3% to 4% stronger, we would have nearly automatically a "grand coalition" without Schröder, with a high chance of a gridlock. If the result would have been much higher, the CDU and FDP could work together, but without any chance for the FDP to win as much as they can now win together with the Greens. Both parties, but especially the Greens have to be very successful, else their voters would punish them very hard for collaborating with "the enemy". This is the big chance to change some things that would not change for the next 20 years without such a situation.

The radical economists within the FDP may have to lower it's sights in a few fields a bit for the next four years (nevertheless their chances were already not very good before), but they will get another chance to establish the changes they can't get trough now. Nevertheless we may experience some changes that we wont get for the next twenty years elsewhere.

Such as a successful Grand Coalition requires Gerhard Schröder to resign, a successful Jamaica Coalition will require the same of Joschka Fischer.

The outcome of the German coalition poker will ultimately depend on who of these two can easier be isolated from his party: Schröder or Fischer? Before the election I thought that given the fissures in his party, Schröder would be easier to deal with, but now it seems that Fischer might be easier to crack up. Schröder wants to cooperate with Merkel but on his terms, while Fischer refuses cooperation with her entirely. The former is in active resistance against the new reality, while the latter only is in passive resistance.

Talks of the CDU/CSU with the Greens are going to happen, even if only to have a bargaining chip in their talks with Schröder. If the Greens were able to emanciapte themselves from Joschka Fischer, steer out of their current position in cloud cuckoo land and admit that their energy policy is a German sonderweg rather than a geostrategic model, then a stable Jamaica Coalition would be possible, such as a stable Grand Coalition with the Socialdemocrats would require that party to make the same admission about their labor policy.

While a Grand Coalition leaves renewal to opposition and guarantees maximum political inertia in government, a Jamaica Coalition aims at a psychological breakthrough: the long overdue reconciliation of the political heritage of the Renegade Nazi generation with the political heritage of the First Post-Nazi generation, under the leadership of a former anti-communist dissident and the supervision of a liberal party (in the Adam Smith not the Bill Clinton sense of the word!) whose Secretary General is a staunch friend of Israel.

This certainly is a higly ambitious project, but in a dire situation the wise choice of a way out always is that one which bears a promise.

Ben,

That combination might work. It surely would work better than a red black. The Union as well as Germany would probably be better served if the blacks refused this offer.

It would also probably work better than any other combination. For that simple reason I am not so sure it will be the one which ends up forming the government.

Remember in all the give aways the blacks will want their share of power too. So will there be enough to actually go around.

Joe,

> Remember in all the give aways the blacks
> will want their share of power too. So will
> there be enough to actually go around.

Yes, this is the key question and you may be right. But, Angela Merkel knows one thing: this is her one and only chance. There is no second one, not for her, not for an east-german, protestantic woman in a party dominated by male catholic west-germans. She is the candidate for only two reasons:

1.) She really has a strong desire for that power.
2.) She is an excellent back-room tactican.

But if she fails here, her political life is as good as over forever. The next problem is, that if the CDU fails to get the chancellorship, this may lead to an implosion of the whole party, partly comparable with the democrats after the 2004 elections (and there will be no hurricane to help the CDU out).

The price of giving up several points of view is very high for the CDU. But the price to become despite their victory only a junior partner of a "grand coalition" is even higher. This combined with Merkel's personal risk may lead to this very unusual combination that no one expected.

Ben,

That might be true with a black yellow green coaltion.

If I were the Union I would walk away from a red black coalition. Such a government despite what many Germans might think will not serve them well. It surely will not serve the interests of the Union.

It will however be good for both the FPD and the new left. I am unsure just what impact it would have on the greens.

By not being a part of a grand coalition, then this will force either new elections or force the red greens to govern with the real reds. Both of those options are best for not only the black yellow but for the German people.

Franzis,

That makes a lot of good sense. In fact, it makes so much good sense, and I am not trying to be funny here, it probably will not happen.

Ben and Franzis,

Of course, there are a couple of issues which are a bit sticky with this group - Iran and Iraq.

While not important to the average German as long as their government does not get Germany envolved beyond the talking point could cause problems both within the EU and with the US.

joe - Green party mastermind Daniel Cohn-Bendit is suggesting UN bureaucrat Klaus Töpfer for chancellor. Well, at least he comes up with an unrealistic absurd idea rather than with the Left Party.

The Greens are in an ideological hurricane just right now, but they still manage to keep pokerfaces, though Guido Westerwelle has an opportunity to tickle them with Claudia Roth's campaigning against the persecution of gays in Jamaica.

You might be right however, there still is the possibility that parts of the Socialdemocrats break off to the Left Party should they see the Greens open up for a Left Coalition, which would make every incremental move in that direction irreversible. On the other hand, even if every second Green deputy ran away from a Jamaica coalition, either to the Socialdemocrats or the Left Party, the new government would still have more seats than Red-Green had up to now.

I think a "Malawi" coalition (my term, using the flag colors of red, black, green) would make most sense politically for Germany. Neither Schroeder nor Merkel would become Chancellor; the chancellorship would pass to the Greens (Fischer) as a "caretaker" in order to ensure continuity in foreign policy. Red and Black, who would control all the minister positions under the new "caretaker" government other than the chancellorship itself, would push forward the reforms they agree on, and agree to new elections in 1 year, with new candidates at the top of both parties. FDP would become the "loyal opposition," arguing for even greater reforms. The "Linke" would be the other opposition party, arguing in essence to roll back even those reforms the Malawi-coalition agreed on.

It is a very unorthodox solution, but politically it makes the most sense, in my opinion. And it is "handlungsfaehig," to use the German word being bounced around a lot.

Remember, you read it here first. :-)

Franzis & Ben,

Here is where all of this really breaks down. It will be in the area of results. I for one think much of this election for the German people were what they were against and very little of what they were for.

We are all making a huge assumption, which I fear is false. That assumption being the Germans actually want reform. I personally do not think they do. I would tell you all those who voted on the Left do not or at least they do not want the changes and reforms needed to move Germany forward.

I have read a lot of European articles in English, which have been very hard on the election results. You could say I am only reading stuff that many would consider from the right but even sources that I would consider from the left like the Guardian have a negative spin on the results. In the case of the Guardian it is about keeping on keeping on with the social welfare state but recognizing that this is not possible under current economic conditions. If this was possible then whatever changes were easy would have already been made.

I also find how in less than a generation the misery of life under communism has been forgotten. This tells me the social welfare state might be to engrained to allow change. Change will come but it will be totally forced change caused by outside forces. Germans will have missed their opportunity to influence this change.

joe - Red-Green tried to keep Iran away from the Security Council referral until Germany would have its own veto seat, while a Jamaica coalition would not link these issues, and probably agree to favor a single European seat in the future, while it uses its seat in the IAEA board with the Iranian missile capability in mind.

Iraq is Gerhard Schröder's weakest point, if he brings it up again in his fiery campaign, the CDU/CSU and FDP might dig out his role in the TUI scandal. And thanks God the blind confidence Joschka Fischer achieved with his stance on Iraq got lost in the visa scandal, so that the proposal of Horst Köhler bestowing hi7m extraconstitutional privileges to build a new government remains an unconvincing fantasy for the Daniel Cohn-Bendit kindergarten.

Germany's welfare dilemma is that any cuts in state welfare might be substituted with Islamic welfare. The welfare state bribes German Muslims to stay away from jihad. If these benefits were suddenly cut, the mosques and terror frontends would take over. We have become dependent on the welfare state just like on an artificial kidney that can't be turned off. What matters most now is to prevent this situation from blowing up into our faces, in which ways it develops in doing so is of secondary concern.

There is a funny pun on Schröder's election night 'performance' over at

http://www.antibuerokratieteam.de/?p=372

Actually, when I saw the reaction of the SPD footsoldiers in Willy-Brandt-Haus after Müntefering "celebrated" the results and then Schröder appeared on stage like he'd achieved a landslide victory I was a bit concerned if not to say I felt quite uneasy: Seeing a gathering of my countrymen with wide open eyes and drooling over an imagined victory is always a sight to be really wary of -- no matter which direction it is coming from.

Faaaar out, this "Elefantenrunde" on Sunday night....! Das glaub ich einfach nicht.

http://sisyphosmount.blogspot.com/2005/09/sozialistische-bodenhaftung.html

Forgive the OT please. Simon Wiesenthal has died.

For Simon:

Yis'ga'dal v'yis'kadash sh'may ra'bbo, b'olmo dee'vro chir'usay v'yamlich malchu'say, b'chayaychon uv'yomay'chon uv'chayay d'chol bais Yisroel, ba'agolo u'viz'man koriv; v'imru Omein.
Y'hay shmay rabbo m'vorach l'olam ul'olmay olmayo.
Yisborach v'yishtabach v'yispoar v'yisromam v'yismasay, v'yishador v'yis'aleh v'yisalal, shmay d'kudsho, brich hu, l'aylo min kl birchoso v'sheeroso, tush'bechoso v'nechemoso, da,ameeran b'olmo; vimru Omein.
Y'hay shlomo rabbo min sh'mayo, v'chayim alaynu v'al kol Yisroel; v'imru Omein.
Oseh sholom bimromov, hu ya'aseh sholom olaynu, v'al kol yisroel; vimru Omein.
(Thanks to Jewels)

This result is one reason I prefer the "winner takes all" single member district system of the U.S. and England to Germany's "fair" proportional system (see David's pre-election post.) Instability and governments that are too weak to be anything but a liability in times of national emergency aren't really "fair" to anyone. Single member districts certainly favor the dominance of two parties. However, that doesn't mean that smaller parties haven't had a voice, or haven't taken over dominant status, in either the U.S. or England. Note the example of the Republicans in the U.S., and Labour in England. Major parties in the U.S. have a long history of forcing one or the other of the dominant parties to adopt major portions of their platforms or accept a constant drain of votes to a third party. They may not succeed in electing Presidents very often, but they have hardly been without influence as long as their platforms resonate with a significant voter base.

@Helian
>>This result is one reason I prefer the "winner takes all" single member district system of the U.S. and England to Germany's "fair" proportional system

I agree with that. But one thing I do wish the U.S. would take from Germany - have the elections on the weekend. David noted that voter turnout was almost 78% in Germany. Here in the U.S. we're thrilled if we can get 50%.

Stupid stupid stupid.

gs - since they're used to monarchy, I would suspect govern and rule are interchangeable.
----

David, hope you're popping your popcorn and settling in, this is going to be very entertaining!

And another stick to beat Germans over the head with, can't make fun of our system anymore.

--The welfare state bribes German Muslims to stay away from jihad. If these benefits were suddenly cut, the mosques and terror frontends would take over.--

I don't agree, the more time they have on their hands, the more mischief they can make.

AND to assimilate, you have to get them into the culture working, meeting and associating w/other Germans to make them feel they have a stake in Germany's future. Now you just keep them in their enclaves - think New Orleans - that hurricane gave people an opportunity they never had, and quite a few are going to run with it.

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