Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Out with a Whine

Former Whinin Chancellor Schroeder has quit the government of Germany, saying he will have no post in the newly formed coalition. It's no surprise, given Schroeder's prominence in his party, both in victory and in the recent defeat. He was buoyed up to high approval ratings and kept in office by virulent anti-Americanism, but failed to sustain any amount of economic growth and to fight the forces of economic stagnation. And he leaves as a sad, sad little man:

"I will not be a part of the next government -- definitely not be part of it," a tearful looking Schroeder told a rapt audience of union members in his home city of Hanover.

He quickly composed himself, hitting his stride in a passionate defense of a strong German state and lashing out at "Anglo-Saxon" economic policies favoured in Britain and the United States, which he said had "no chance" in Europe.

In an apparent reference to Hurricane Katrina, Schroeder castigated Washington for liberal, hands-off policies that left it exposed in times of crisis. The Bush administration was widely criticised for its response to the devastating storm.

"I do not want to name any catastrophes where you can see what happens if organised state action is absent. I could name countries, but the position I still hold forbids it, but everyone knows I mean America," he said to loud applause.

Schroeder's always been heavy on the rhetoric, but light on the substance. It's expected that he would be full of cheap parting shots and celebration of his own ideology (even though Germany's voters seem to think his way might not be the best). I find it rather interesting that he can spout rhetoric like this when there is zero chance of a hurricane ever hitting Germany or Europe. Also, when did massive centralized states help Europe in a time of disaster? I seem to remember a heat wave killing thousands of people that Europe's so-called "strong states" did little to help. Government at all levels failed in Katrina, and I doubt extra quantity would have helped. As much as he wants to paint it otherwise, this is another step in a march away from the stagnant and bitter blend of democratic socialism practiced in Germany that has done so poorly during recent economic adjustments.

Schroeder already has some cheese with his whine. No need to help him there.