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Old 22.01.2016, 13:37
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Do you believe in Merkel?

She is apparently beset by resistance from all sides. Even asylum seekers are now suing her government for taking too long to process their asylum requests. Yet she doesn't seem to address anything anybody airs. Does she intend to lead or do all the work herself?

In German democracy, how is it possible for a Chancellor to not listen to anybody? How is this different from despotism? Weren't there any lessons learned from WWII about ruling with absolute power?
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Old 22.01.2016, 13:42
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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Old 22.01.2016, 13:46
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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Old 22.01.2016, 13:47
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

First I had Maggie Thatcher as my female role model (sorry anti Thatcher folks, I'm entitled to my own opinion)

Then Condoleeza Rice. (until I read her book and interpreted a different side of her, and am no longer a fan)

And then I admired Angela Merkel. Until her announcement on refugee intake last year. Which I interpreted as a kind and humane directive, that was ill thought through. Cynically I viewed it at the time, as a way to take pressure and spotlight from EU economics talks. Today, I perceive her as being overwhelmed, indecisive, directionless. I am saddened that in history, all her good work will be wiped from memories because of this one action.

Maybe she's doing great things in the background, but she really needs to step up with her old leadership style right now. Get her balls back.
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Old 22.01.2016, 13:48
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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Do you believe in Merkel?
I've seen pictures of her and she's on the telly a lot.

I once saw her talking in Lugwigshafen, but to be honest, I was in a window above her and there was a sniper opposite, so I tried not to hang around too much. It could have been anyone, really.

Now that you've had me think about it, I'm having bit of a crisis of faith. I suppose I might be Merkel agnostic, if I have to give an opinion.
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Old 22.01.2016, 13:55
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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She is apparently beset by resistance from all sides. Even asylum seekers are now suing her government for taking too long to process their asylum requests. Yet she doesn't seem to address anything anybody airs. Does she intend to lead or do all the work herself?

In German democracy, how is it possible for a Chancellor to not listen to anybody? How is this different from despotism? Weren't there any lessons learned from WWII about ruling with absolute power?
Merkel seems to be trying to model herself in the footsteps of Helmut Kohl. One of Kohl's great strengths was being able to weather any storm or scandal simply by sitting there unflinchingly and ignoring or, if push came to shove, cycnically deflecting any criticism until things calmed down and went back to normal.

It was in the end his undoing but it kept him in power for 16 years, during which he outlasted crisis after crisis.

And this approach is not as absurd as it may sound. In times of change and uncertainty, people look to leaders who can keep a calm head, refuse to change course, but promise things will be OK in the end. Kohl was the master of that game.

Furthermore, as some of the German participants on this forum have shown, Germans have a great and unshaking respect for their leaders. Whereas in the anglosphere we are used to seeing leaders ridiculed, mocked and their effigies burnt at the stake, the very thought of a guy carrying a gallows with Merkel's name on it at a public demonstartion was sufficient to horrify the entire country, and at least temporarily, turn the tide against the likes of Pegida. A leader is a leader and you defend them whether they're right or wrong.

Of course this goodwill can very thin if you rely on it too much, and I think Merkel is getting pretty close to that point. But it lasts while it lasts.
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:00
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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Of course this goodwill can very thin if you rely on it too much, and I think Merkel is getting pretty close to that point. But it lasts while it lasts.
They wait until the next election cycle for changes, or do they ask for a snap election? How does the check and balance on a Chancellor's power work?

At the moment, it seems to be in the form of resistance in implementations. Some of the failures we are seeing may simply be individuals not doing exactly what she wants them to do.
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:09
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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They wait until the next election cycle for changes, or do they ask for a snap election? How does the check and balance on a Chancellor's power work?

At the moment, it seems to be in the form of resistance in implementations. Some of the failures we are seeing may simply be individuals not doing exactly what she wants them to do.
Germans don't really do snap elections. It reminds them too much of Weimar, where there were sometimes several elections a year when nobody could form a proper government.

The parliament can initiate a vote of no confidence. I think this has been tried several times in the history of the BRD but was never succesful AFAIK. Also, a chancellor can resign voluntarily to avoid such a vote. This is what Willy Brandt did. I think the president can also recall a chancellor, but I'm not sure what it takes to trigger this. The present German president hasn't exactly displayed the political neutrality that comes with the job description and has been pretty loud in railing against the anti-Merkelites so i don't think he is likely to make a U-turn on that.
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:13
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

If you want to follow opinion polls in Germany

http://www.wahlrecht.de/umfragen/
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:16
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

She the best, despite losing a tad her plot on immigration
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:38
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

I'm not sure - I can't work out whether the tag team of Trump and the Easter Bunny would beat Merkel and Unicorn in a fight to the death.

All I know is that I'd pay-per-view for it
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:40
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

Never was a fan and always voted for anyone but her...

Her political career had two phases:

1. Before becoming chancellor
She was the "political child" of Helmut Kohl. After the reunification did he need to establish the CDU as the conservative force in Eastern Germany and therefore put quite some effort into finding some good people there. Anything Merkel did later on she learned during the Kohl years. On thing that was her specialty even back then was to not have any specialty: She never had any program or position in anything but always went with the majority. When majority opinions changed on a topic... so did she. Like a little flag in the wind... she clearly did not go into politics because she was convinced of a certain position and wanted to make sure this get implemented - but simply was hungry for power.

2. Chancellor.
First of all do I think she deserves respect to manage to become the leader of the conservatives. As a woman. From Eastern Germany. I am pretty sure that not too many on here know the German conservatives that well, but I am sure many other political parties work the same: Junior politicians meet during their college times and spend 1-2 decades to work on their politcial careers and push the jobs to their circle of friends. Within the CDU of her generation was this the "Andes-club", a group of men who went on a South America tour with the "young conservatives" during the early 80s... at a time Merkel was still wearing her socialist shirts...
During her years as a chancellor did she get a new nickname as she wasn't moving like a flag in the populist wind anymore: "Teflon". No matter what happened in Berlin, nothing sticks to Merkel. With her will to power did she never have a problem to get rid of any minister or decades long supporter whenever necessary. And for some reason did her voters time and again buy the story that it clearly was not her fault, but whoever just got kicked out.

I think around 1-2 years ago she somehow realized something: She has no legacy. None. Kohl had the reunification. Schroeder has reformed the social insurances against strong resistance even from his own party to meet the challenges of an aging society (at least a bit...) with his Hartz 4 packages and the "Agenda 2010" program. Merkel: A big fat nothing. Promised to lower the tax but did in fact raise it. Health care is in worse shape than before her, retirement system is in a worse shape, the army is just ridiculous and this list goes on. Clearly, the European Union in in a worse shape today than a decade ago - even before the refugees. Just think of the entire Greece story. It was her job to solve it together with the French, but out came very little. Internally was her non-action very good for businesses: The economy grew based on low wages and stagnating purchasing power of employees. It was good for companies but bad for the employees of those companies.

So I believe that a year and a half ago she decided that she does not want to go into the history books as a "lost decade". We had that situation before: Kohl did nothing for a decade in the 80s... well, that's not true: he more than doubled the German debt since he was unwilling to change the generous social insurances when it was necessary. Luckily for him came the reunification: Suddenly we clearly had to save money to "finance the build up" which was one complete lie. He did the things that were overdue for a decade and still will be remained as the chancellor that reunited the country, no matter how bad his policies were.

Angela was probably looking for her reunification story. Helping a million people in need makes you look good... and gives a great reason to push through policies you otherwise would try to avoid as they are unpopular. The problem is that these refugees are not Germans and that I don't think the population is falling for it this time. And that's dangerous: Since Merkel is doing left winged politics that's even too left for most of the SPD, let alone her own party does she suppress the conservative 50% of the German population. Many will still vote for the CDU because conservatives by definition hate change and just hope for some other candidates in the future. However, 10-20% might be so unhappy with her that they are willing to vote for newly popped up conservative movements. The problem is that those are not just radical in their opinions, but simply not up for the job of a power in a democratically elected parliament. They will make policy making much more difficult for the coming years and ultimately disappear again as soon as Merkel is gone and the CDU back on track. However, this will alienate even more people with politics.
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:44
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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First I had Maggie Thatcher as my female role model (sorry anti Thatcher folks, I'm entitled to my own opinion)
Pfft!

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Then Condoleeza Rice. (until I read her book and interpreted a different side of her, and am no longer a fan)
I find that more shocking than Thatcher for some reason.

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And then I admired Angela Merkel. Until her announcement on refugee intake last year. Which I interpreted as a kind and humane directive, that was ill thought through. ...

...Maybe she's doing great things in the background, but she really needs to step up with her old leadership style right now. Get her balls back.
I don't feel the need to admire her purely because she's a woman on very equal footing with the male World leaders. As a politician, she has the kind of dogged determination that I admire, but she also displays the micro-management traits that I abhor in the workplace. She's crap at delegating.

With regards to the recent immigration policy, Merkel was very open about these people being Germany's workforce of the future. With native Germans having fewer children, she has a damned good point there! It's a business decision.

P.S. I admired Maya Angelou and Mo Mowlam (even though I'm not a Labour voter). We could all do with more politicians of Mo's calibre in the World. She was phenomenal and sadly missed.
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:47
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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Old 22.01.2016, 14:49
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

Wow! Hopefully, the fate of Europe and Germany isn't resting solely on Merkel's personal ambitions.

It seems we have the same dynamics throughout most of Europe. The Center-Right has suffered credibility loss, so the alternative is the Left now or the Extreme Right later. Some have simply skipped the Left and just moved to the Right.

Cameron seems to be the only one holding the Center-Right properly.
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:52
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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I find that more shocking than Thatcher for some reason.
....
P.S. I admired Maya Angelou and Mo Mowlam (even though I'm not a Labour voter). We could all do with more politicians of Mo's calibre in the World. She was phenomenal and sadly missed.
If you weigh it pound per pound honestly, and consider who actually advanced feminist causes further: Margaret Thatcher of Maya Angeloue?

Honestly now. Its clear Margaret Thatcher has done more to advance the Feminist cause. Other talked about it, she proved. Now I wonder if Merkel will erode it.
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Old 22.01.2016, 14:53
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

I agree with everything you wrote up to this point ...

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The problem is that those are not just radical in their opinions, but simply not up for the job of a power in a democratically elected parliament. They will make policy making much more difficult for the coming years and ultimately disappear again as soon as Merkel is gone and the CDU back on track. However, this will alienate even more people with politics.
When the German Greens started up people were saying they were inexperienced, radical, dangerous, idiotic, naive and lots of similarly unflattering adjectives.

There has over the years been a sort of Darwinism in their ranks with the idiotic and dangerous and radical ones being weeded out or falling in line with the realistic ones and shutting up. Today nobody shrugs their shoulders when the Greens form a government.

Maybe the CDU, more so even than the SPD is too much in the hands of old boys' clubs to be able to reform and reinvent itself in a meaningful way?
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Old 22.01.2016, 15:01
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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If you weigh it pound per pound honestly, and consider who actually advanced feminist causes further: Margaret Thatcher of Maya Angeloue?

Honestly now. Its clear Margaret Thatcher has done more to advance the Feminist cause. Other talked about it, she proved. Now I wonder if Merkel will erode it.
I don't think Merkel will damage feminism. People associate her with many things but feminism doesn't rank very high on that list and thus won't take much of the outfall.
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Old 22.01.2016, 15:05
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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Maybe the CDU, more so even than the SPD is too much in the hands of old boys' clubs to be able to reform and reinvent itself in a meaningful way?
No need to reform, just do what you did the last century and nobody will vote AfD. The difference between the greens and AfD is that the greens actually had some points that were not covered by the other parties:
- pacifism (The US were installing new rockets against the SU in Germany at the time and hundred thousands demonstrated against them).
- ecology (The SPD was at that time about jobs and the CDU about the economy...)
- feminism

The AfD has:
- everything the CSU and the conservative wing of the CDU says but Merkel suppresses

The greens had loyal voters that identified themselves with the ideals. This means you will stick to the party even if there are some internal crisis or some other parties are changing their position to accomodate you. The AfD is going to get probably around 10%-15% "protest voters" who would probably elect an idiot like Seehofer if Merkel would give him a bit more space... and is already splitting in pieces even before they get any seats anywhere.
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Old 22.01.2016, 15:09
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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I don't think Merkel will damage feminism. People associate her with many things but feminism doesn't rank very high on that list and thus won't take much of the outfall.
Perhaps not the platforms for structural nor post-structural feminism, but she could alter how it is perceived by the public.

The Merkel as "Mutti" sentiment struck me as weird. She doesn't have any children, and am not sure she truly understands the experience of being a real mother. The refugee topic kind of strikes me as some sort of over compensation for it. I'm not sure how natural it is, and I don't know how motherly she really is for Deutschland.
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