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Well it was quick in the end: SDP/CDU/FDP/Grüne will vote for Joachim Gauck.
by IM on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 03:24:36 PM EST
Yeah, a staunch neoliberal. And racist, who supports Sarrazin. And hater of freedom, who supports data retention. I despair.
by Katrin on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 03:56:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's not a CDU party hack; and he hasn't suggested ending democracy in Greece.

On the other hand, if he makes racist statements after his election, that would be amusing.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:03:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WENDIGER PASTOR: Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Gauck -- Der Freitag necessarily PASTOR: Goodbye, Mr. Gauck% u2014 The Friday
Hauptmann Terpe schloss den Operativen Vorgang, nachdem die Stasi zu Gauck ein "gutes Verhältnis" hergestellt und seine Bereitschaft zur weiteren engen Mitarbeit festgestellt hatte. Der MfS-Hauptmann schlug vor, einen IM-Vorlauf über Gauck anzulegen. Dazu stellt der § 1 (Grundsätze) der 1. Durchführungsbestimmung zur erwähnten Richtlinie Nr. 1/79 fest: Personen, die als IM-Kandidaten ausgewählt werden, sind IM-Vorläufe. Pastor Gauck, der sich als Widerständler und Bürgerrechtler feiern lässt, ein IM-Kandidat der Stasi!Hauptmann Terpe closed the operating procedure according to which the Stasi initiated a "good relationship" to Gauck and found him willing to continue close cooperation. The Stasi captain proposed the creation of an IM-Vorlauf. [According to regulations] Persons who are selected as candidates for informal cooperation are IM-Vorläufe. Pastor Gauck, celebrating himself as a resistance fighter and civil rights activist, was an IM candidate of the Stasi!


Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:27:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Going completely off-topic: is there any chance you could write a short diary on the Ball der Burschenschafter affair and the award not given to Strache (in particular how the Faymann government first got to nominate him for the award)?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:04:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know next to nothing about the whole affair, but the award in question is routinely granted for 10 years service in Parliament.

See:Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich - Wikipedia

Leitende Beamte eines Ministeriums (z.B. Sektionschef) bzw. einer Landesregierung (z.B. Landesamtsdirektor) werden meist mit dem Großen Goldenen oder Silbernen Ehrenzeichen mit dem Stern sowie mit dem Großen Goldenen oder Silbernen Ehrenzeichen ausgezeichnet. Üblich ist es, an Abgeordnete zum Nationalrat nach zehnjähriger Amtszeit das Große Goldene Ehrenzeichen zu vergeben, auch an Nicht-Beamte werden solche Dekorationen verliehen, so erhielt z. B. der Architekt Hans Hollein zum 75. Geburtstag das Große Goldene Ehrenzeichen.

The demonstrators were somewhat successful at disrupting the guests arrival and the opening commenced with an hours delay.
Apparently Strache had to voice his feelings of victimization by declaring "We are the new Jews" and comparing the actions of the protesters to the Reichskristallnacht.

That caused one of the periodic bouts of outrage over FPÖ leaders belittling NAZI crimes and led to the Bundespresident canceling the award.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter

by generic on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:10:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And now there is yet another Strache scandal: his Facebook page hosted a paper by a far-right think-tank with discredited numbers about how much money a refugee family in Austria receives.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 01:42:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A (repeated) nitpick, but neoliberals aren't the only anti-anti-capitalists.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:17:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but this bugger fits the description well. And we have a saying here: "Put all of them into the same sack and beat it".
by Katrin on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think he fits the description well at all. None of his arguments go back to love of the free market, all of them go back and explicitly reference a classic conservative interpretation of features of former East Germany.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:34:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He finds the occupy movement simply silly because for him opposition against the rule of the free market is the same as opposition against the force of gravity or so.
by Katrin on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:40:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, he finds it stupid because he thinks people ignore that East Germany had publicly owned banks and that that didn't function well either. Which is a stupid argument itself on so many levels (false dichotomy and the lack of speculation and financial crashes in East Germany being two of them), but not neoliberalism.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:46:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If your interpretation is right, no he is not. I am interpreting his attitude differently, but I believe you don't object to the idea with the sack, right?
by Katrin on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:01:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mmmmph, thinking about it, I think more differentiated attacks would be more in place, because Gauck the evangelical pastor would deserve to be attacked for not emphasizing and contradicting the social message of the New Testament, and his GDR palallels need to be trashed. The sack you put the likes of Merz or Niebel into would deserve a different treatment.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 07:09:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes one can exaggerate all that differentiation.

Misik has an interesting piece today that chimes with your observation of Gauck being a pastor who disregards the social message of the New Testament (I agree). Misik says that it is hysterical to claim Gauck was a Sarrazin fan, but that he was peculiarly indifferent to the injury Sarrazin caused to Germans with foreign roots. I think this indifference is an important facet of Gauck's character.

by Katrin on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 03:58:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's also not so keen on some aspects of the Old Testament either, in particular the bit about adultery. Norbert Geis of the CSU has already expressed some reservations on that account, while Klaus Ernst of the Linke said
"Was für eine mittelalterliche Debatte! Es gibt viel, was gegen Gauck als Präsident spricht, seine Lebensverhältnisse gehören nicht dazu."
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:24:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's quite a problem for the Bavarians and it reminds them that there is no longer confessional and regional balance. The CDU used to take pains to observe this balance.
by Katrin on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:35:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ARD's morning show grilled CSU secretary Alexander Dobrindt over this, it was fun to see how he justifies alternatives to the sacral marriage, holds back criticism for lack of Bavarian and Catholic influence, and of the FDP. (BTW I realised that I have seen Dobrindt in so many reports but this was the first time I saw his 1950s glasses... what a phony.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:42:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IOW here is a man who for a decade supposedly had the job of coming to terms with the past but never mentally got beyond the GDR.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:41:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For once the leaders of the SPD (who publicly declared that they launch a candidate of their own if Merkel tries her usual trick of claiming to want a 'consensus candidate' but then presenting them with one already agreed upon by the coalition) and the FDP (who pre-empted Merkel's Black-Green coalition poker by declaring support for Gauck) out-manoeuvred Merkel. It's a shame they did so for such a crap candidate, but the writing was on the wall (no way a serious do-gooder would have passed all three of the coalition parties, and even the Greens prefer the cheap points of crowing about Merkel accepting their top-of-the-polls candidate from two years ago to a critical look at Gauck's comments on Sarrazin, the Occupy movement, and data retention in the past two years).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:16:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a hard-hitting op-ed on taz from the pen of Deniz Yücel (who came to (in)fame with his Bild-spoofing World Cup commentary in 2010), which not only trashes Gauck's eighties-nineties record and lists a lot more objectionable offerings from Gauck, but criticises the public attitudes towards people from outside party politics (who paradoxically get away with much more than party politicians) and argues that consensus is actually a sign of a problem.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 06:27:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I tried to track down the context of some of the more egregious Gauck quotes in Yücel's piece. I found that the one on the over-emphasis of the Holocaust was indeed out of context, but the context, a speech in 2006, doesn't help Gauck at all. Altough the general thrust of his argument is one I made too (namely that arguing over the uniqueness of the Holocaust can bar discussion of the non-unique social trends that led to it and which have to be battled today too), the paragraph containing that passage is not really about the Holcaust but about dissing atheists. His 'thesis' is that the Holocaust is an ersatz God for secular people who are longing for the missing Absolute. So I must say Yücel was right, the SPD and Greens should have known in 2010 already that Gauck is a reactionary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 11:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly, they should have known that. In 2010 this wasn't debated, but it is now: a good sign.
by Katrin on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 03:41:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm surprised at the vehemence of the Gauck-promoting media in defending the candidate. For example, the SPIEGEL article on Sarrazin's praise for Gauck doesn't omit the quoting of the saving grace parts in Gauck's 2010 interview with SZ (see downthread) – and none of the problematic parts or those exposing him for mouthing off uninformed.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 04:51:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the other hand, some criticism gets through – see SZ op-ed by Francziska Augstein, which disses Gauck's recent book and stresses that he enjoys the image of East German civil rights fighter without merit.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 04:55:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There you see how polarising he already is. And it's only starting! There is a lot of time until 18th March.  
by Katrin on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 06:28:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now if only the on-line Gauck shitstorm would be followed by an on-line shitstorm over the Merkel and Schäuble (and Bild and and and) lies regarding Greece.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:45:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow! Yücel was attacked for citing the passage on the Holocaust out of context, but he strikes back with another op-ed that quotes and analyes the wider context and takes Gauck's actual words to pieces well beyond what I wrote.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 04:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The FDP blocked all not Gauck candidates. Or we would have got someone like Töpfer.
by IM on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 08:56:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The SPD really needs to learn how to stop participating in the kind of farce faux-negotiations that lets an extremist joke party like the FDP pick the candidate for prominent positions.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 09:17:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To contradict both of you a bit, if I remember correctly, SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel declared that Gauck is the SPD's favourite before the FDP turned on Merkel.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 01:37:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then the SPD needs to stop backing embarrassments and reactionaries that might as well have been picked unilaterally by the FDP.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 05:31:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What this tells us is that the SPD is still primarily concerned with not being seen with those dirty communists.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 07:39:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly
by Katrin on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 08:16:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To lift an enlightening comment of Katrin's from the Salon:

Katrin:

On the federal level: well, so far Merkel has not resigned. The next government will be a grand coalition or black and green, I think. We won't be rid of the CDU and the opposition is no opposition, because they think of their chances of a coalition with the CDU. This is why nobody attacks Merkel.

This was after I noted that with the current federal polls FDP would be out, Piraten would be in, SDP+Greens would not gain a mayority, which apparently makes the coalition list:

  1. CDU+Greens
  2. CDU+SDP
  3. nothing

As both Piraten and Linke are considered uncoalitionable.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 09:07:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As both Piraten and Linke are considered uncoalitionable

If we want dynamic in the system, this is the only point where to start. Piraten and Linke must become coalitionable, but not in the way the Greens managed that. The SPD must move, not  Die Linke (or Piraten).

by Katrin on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 09:20:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Pirates are sailing very much in deep fog, so it hard to reach their position. There is the persistent rumour they don't know their themselves...
by IM on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 09:32:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, they must grow up quickly, or else they will be gone.
by Katrin on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 09:52:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How hard is the demand for mayority government? With Swedish rules we would see a minority SDP+Greens government making deals on a case-by-case basis, being free to seek support on the right or the left.

But then in Sweden a government is elected if the chairman of parliament proposes it and no mayority is formed against and the budget is passed if it is the most popular budget proposal. So the rules are very tolerant of minority governments.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 10:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Impossible. Our rules don't favour it either: governments often need majorities. Die Linke has occasionally tried it on state level: promised to elect a minority government if some conditions are met, but without forming a coalition. Even that is too close contact for the SPD. Nobody can accuse them of cuddling with commies.
by Katrin on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 11:06:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is the red-green minority government in NRW. But even on the stat level minority governments are rare. And there you only need to elect a government and pass a budget. (Not a lot legislative power left on the state level). But even here the political culture doesn't favor minority governments.

On the federal level apart from the political culture the rules makes governing without a absolute majority of the seats much more difficult.

by IM on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 11:14:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You probably need a party system with steadily more than five parties for minority government culture to develop.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:27:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. But we can be reasonably sure that if the CDU had said not, they would have accepted Töpfer. Or Huber etc.

The FDP then enforced for whatever reasons Gauck and SPD and greens could hardly go back. Even if the wanted.

At the press conference Özdemir underlined the imprtance of integration (of immigrants) for the next president. A little reservatio mentalis here.

by IM on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 09:00:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The FDP then enforced for whatever reasons Gauck and SPD and greens could hardly go back.

Not that the SPD wanted to go back. Short-time tactical benefit and all.

Protokoll des Machtkampfs - Rösler bleibt standhaft - Politik - sueddeutsche.de

n einer SPD-Schaltkonferenz gegen 17 Uhr war die Stimmung dagegen umso besser. Die Sozialdemokraten beschlossen, am Kandidaten Gauck festzuhalten. Sollte die Koalition sehen, wie sie ihre Probleme löste.

Entweder die FDP fiele wieder um, dann würde man eben weiter verhandeln. Oder aber die Liberalen blieben hart, dann stünde die Kanzlerin alleine da. Würde sie es hinnehmen, dass SPD, Grüne und FDP Gauck zum Bundespräsidenten machten? Einen Koalitionsbruch konnte sie dafür jedenfalls nicht riskieren.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 10:37:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. Now there's a No Gauck! on Twitter. And as reaction, newspaper articles analysing Gauck1s past comments like the one on Süddeutsche, which claims that Gauck's comments on Sarrazin and data retention weren't all that clear-cut and the rest had various motivations.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:53:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beautiful attempts to explain away what Gauck said! And they don't mention Gauck's complaint about evil communists who accepted the Oder-Neiße-line as Polish-German border.  

The Bundespräsident's job description says he mustn't polarise. This one certainly will. And he must be able to receive foreign presidents without everyone feeling embarassed. The next Polish visit will be interesting!  

by Katrin on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:50:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, did the SPD and Greens propose him deliberately to hurt Merkel?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:54:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, and that both in 2010 and 2012, but I don't think that they thought as far into the future as Gauck turning problematic once in office.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:12:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will it be problematic for them or just for Merkel?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:18:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they vote for him they must own him, I guess. Merkel could even suggest that the candidate was forced on her...

OTOH not all hope is lost, candidates can grow into the office. At least a little. Say Wulff certainly did one good thing I didn't expect him to do with his exlamation on Islam now belonging to Germany. Though he squandered it all...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:27:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel is in this case the one who resisted longest. But it depends mostly on what he does when in office.
by IM on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 09:02:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At first they thought he was just a candidate to hurt Merkel with. In 2010 Gauck's views weren't embarassing for either of them, they were the dead norm of all serious people (only stalinist baby-eaters, aka Die Linke had a problem with him, but they don't count).

This has cracked a tiny bit. I don't think SPD and Greens would have nominated him today, at least not without controversy, but he was already nominated. I hope this nomination will some day falling back on their feet.

by Katrin on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:24:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope not under circumstances that only benefit the CDU and/or Bild.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:29:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking the issue of the expellees may be the most contentious. After all, foreign relations are within the purview of the President, if only as a representative of the state.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:31:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unlikely, if it's for Gauck's views.
by Katrin on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Tactical short-term thinking.
by IM on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 08:59:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well at least SZ accepts that criticism for praising Agenda 2010, even with the argument that Gauck did it with the aim to advocate long-term policies vs. short-term policies rather than for the abolition of the social state, has merit... My view is that, even if all of these quibbles are right (and I don't completely accept them at least in the Sarrazin case), they would show Gauck as a crap communicator who shall produce bloopers in series just like Köhler, and thus become the polariser you speak of whether he intends it or not.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:05:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
And they don't mention Gauck's complaint about evil communists who accepted the Oder-Neiße-line as Polish-German border.  

The Bundespräsident's job description says he mustn't polarise.

Sounds like he'll be Poles apart from the eastern neighbours :\

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 03:43:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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