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Embarrassed Merkel admits plagiarising Reagan

by whataboutbob Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 03:16:26 AM EST

Fran caught this piece of news in this morning's European Breakfast column, and it is significant news. From today's The Independent Online, is this article:

Embarrassed Merkel admits plagiarising Reagan

Angela Merkel's bid to become Germany's first woman leader was dealt an embarrassing blow yesterday after her party was forced to admit that she virtually copied a speech given by the late Ronald Reagan during her recent TV duel with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

A spokesman for Germany's opposition conservatives conceded that Mrs Merkel was "certainly inspired" by Mr Reagan's words, spoken during his 1980 election campaign, when she delivered her closing address to more than 21 million viewers during last Sunday night's televised election debate.

Excerpts from the two speeches were published on Germany's Spiegel-Online website yesterday. They showed that both put almost exactly the same rhetorical questions to voters - albeit 25 years apart.

If anyone has other information related to this news, or can give us a sense of how this is playing in Germany, please let us know.

Also from this same article in The Independent, is this comparison:

Ronald Reagan, 1980

"Are you doing better than you were four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment than there was four years ago? If you answer yes to all these questions, I think it is obvious who you will vote for."

Angela Merkel, 2005

"Is our country doing better than it was seven years ago? Is there higher growth? Is unemployment lower? If you answer all the questions with yes, I think it is obvious who you will be voting for."

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 03:28:34 AM EST
I saw it in the news yesterday, but since I am in Britain, I cannot really tell, how it plays on the streets.

I personally think, it is quite telling, I think she has been modelling herself on Reagan rather than Thatcher anyway. (but that is just a hunch)

For me, it just strengthened the case of not at all wanting her in power. I hope the Greens can make something out of it. They were the major benefactors of his policies when they first came about.

The more I read about her, the more I don't want her. Grr. I voted already, but my little one voice....

by PeWi on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 05:43:49 AM EST

Merkel says deficit cuts would be a priority

A conservative-led government would make replenishing Germany's depleted state coffers its priority, a close aide to Angela Merkel, the opposition leader and frontrunner in next week's general election, said yesterday


"The goal of a balanced budget is not reachable if you approach it only from the expenditure side. That was [Hans] Eichel's mistake," Mr Meister said, referring to Germany's four consecutive breaches of the European Union's fiscal rules under the outgoing finance minister.

"We have to boost the revenues of the state, not through tax increases, but through a broadening of the tax base," he said. "In other words, we do not need higher taxes but more taxpayers."

Part of that goal could be achieved by lowering the top and bottom rates of income tax - moves that the Merkel campaign has already outlined - while scrapping the many loopholes used by high earners legally to evade tax.

Not quite Reaganesque rhetoric, is it? (Although this is what Reagan did end up doing, increasing taxes several times between 1982 and 1986 and seriously cleaning up the tax code in 1986)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 05:44:30 AM EST
Last night I made a jokey comment about this in the Breakfast thread, but I actually had a sickish feeling in the pit of my stomach that it would turn out to be this speech she copied.

Often here in the states, we ponder as people are prone to do when things have gone so horribly utterly wrong -- where did it all begin?  what was the moment, the incident, that set us on this path?  

We can trace threads of this bad thing back to the Nixon era or threads of another hideous trend back to the depression era, but where did it coalesce?  Very often, people point to this speech as the moment, the turning point, the articulation of "are you" rather than "are we."

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 12:31:02 PM EST
And as if to somewhat illustrate what I was trying to say, I just came across this on James Wolcott's blog:

"Katrina the aftermath is payback time for decades of stupidity, greed, pillage, racism," writes Alexander Cockburn at Counterpunch. "My thought is that the tempo towards catastrophe really picked up in the Reagan era. That's when the notion of this society being in some deep sense a collective effort, pointed towards universal human betterment the core of the old Enlightenment went onto the trash heap.

"Once you stop believing in universal betterment, you stop investing in social defenses, like health care, or flood control. You build your shining condo on the hill, put a fence round it, and cancel the local bus service so the poor can't get at you...

"So collective effort goes out the window, and soon the society forgets how collective effort works. Tens of thousands of poor people standing on roofs in the Delta and they haven't the slightest idea how to get them off. The ones they have brought to dry land they dump on the highway, where they stand as the Army trucks roll by."

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 01:38:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's something I've believed for a long time: Reagan and Thatcher did  a  hell of a lot of damage to society.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 05:08:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That pair has a LOT to answer for.  I thought I was gonna go into apoplexy during the recent funeral festivities.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 05:29:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1. In 1984 running against Walter Mondale (higher taxes, higher regulations, bigger welfare/socialist/nanny state, weak on defense, collectivism) Ronald Reagan (lower taxes, fewer regulations, strong national defese,individualism)

won a landslide - 49 out of 50 states!

That is spectacular!  Mondale carried only 1 state - his home state.  I doubt Mrs. Markel can carry 49 out of 50 states in Germany (or whatever the number and juridsiction is). I further doubt Herr Schroeder can carry such a victory.  

2.  Well, the "smartest man in the Senate" (as he is known, by the way, he is also modest) Sen. Biden (D-Delaware), the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, was a plagiarist.  

"Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr., a U.S. senator from Delaware, was driven from the nomination battle after delivering, without attribution, passages from a speech by British Labor party leader Neil Kinnock. A barrage of subsidiary revelations by the press also contributed to Biden's withdrawal: a serious plagiarism incident involving Biden during his law school years; the senator's boastful exaggerations of his academic record at a New Hampshire campaign event; and the discovery of other quotations in Biden's speeches pilfered from past Democratic politicians"

It seems like politicians and plagiarism sometimes make strange bedfellows.

3.  Did Schroeder answer the questions? If so, what was his answer?
a.  Is Germany doing better than it was seven years ago?
b.  Is there higher growth?
c.  Is unemployment lower?

  1.  Does Mrs. Markel's plagiarism make any of the aforementioned questions irrelevant?

Mr Schroeder came to power on a promise to cut the number of unemployed to as low as 3.5 million" From the BBC.  How much did he cut?

Mrs Merkel's conservatives lead the SPD by about 12% in the opinion polls.


by ilg37c on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 08:57:04 PM EST

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