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Exit Clement

by nanne Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 03:25:01 AM EST

The circus among the German Social Democrats (SPD) around prominent reformist Wolfgang Clement has ended with his resignation from the party. It has ended in one of the worse ways possible.

Wolfgang Clement speaking at the INSM. Source: 96dpi / creativecommons.org

Wolfgang Clement was a former minister of the economy in Schröder's second government, and a former state Minister President. He fell in disrepute among many in the SPD after he publicly warned against electing Andrea Ypsilanti in the German state of Hesse. Party members soon started filing applications to request his expulsion from the party. An expulsion procedure was eventually launched, and although the local SPD arbitration court decided to leave him with a reprimand, the State arbitration court - in his own state, North Rhine-Westphalia - decided to expel Clement from the party.

The party base wanted Clement to go, but the centrist federal leadership decided to make highly publicised efforts to reach out. And so this Monday we got the unfortunate news that the national arbitration court let Clement stay on as a party member, and gave him a reprimand.

Now the centrists have belatedly found out what they have been dealing with. It turns out that Clement had only been fighting his expulsion in order to keep the honour to himself, and publicly lecture the SPD one last time.

Promoted with slight edit by DoDo


Clement, you see, enjoys being a scold. Especially when it gets him on TV or in the newspapers. He's like Joe Lieberman. Except that he no longer has a vested interest, like a plum committee chairmanship. And the SPD is like the US Democratic Party, always asking for more, except that Wolfgang Clement was of no real use to them anymore. Clement's letter of resignation bleeds 'I haven't left the party, the party left me'.

Clements Erklärung im Wortlaut: "Bedauere sehr, den Schritt tun zu müssen" - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - PolitikClements declaration in full wording: "very much regret having to take this step" - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - Politics

Einst war er Superminister im Kabinett Schröder, nun kehrt er seiner Partei den Rücken: Ex-Wirtschaftsminister Wolfgang Clement ist nach einer Rüge der Bundesschiedskommission aus der SPD ausgetreten. SPIEGEL ONLINE dokumentiert den Wortlaut seiner Erklärung.

Once he was superminister in the Schröder cabinet, now he turns his back on his party: former minister of economic affairs Wolfgang Clement has stepped out of the SPD after the reprimand from the federal arbitration court. SPIEGEL ONLINE documents the wording of his declaration.

"Hiermit erkläre ich mit Wirkung vom heutigen Tag meinen Austritt aus der Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands."With this I declare effective today my resignation from the social democratic party of Germany.
Die Gründe dafür sindThe reasons for that are
  • erstens die Entscheidung der Bundesschiedskommission, die meint, die Wahrnehmung des Grundrechts auf Meinungsfreiheit mit einer öffentlichen Rüge drangsalieren zu sollen,
  • zweitens die Tatsache, dass die SPD-Parteiführung zugleich keinen klaren Trennungsstrich zur PDS/Linken zieht, sondern sogar - in den Ländern - zu einer Zusammenarbeit mit dieser Partei ermuntert, obgleich deren Stasi-Verstrickung offenkundig ist, und
  • drittens eine Wirtschaftspolitik treiben lässt, die - wie der IGBCE-Vorsitzende Hubertus Schmoldt soeben wieder warnend hervorgehoben hat - auf eine De-Industrialisierung unseres Landes hinausläuft.
  • first of all the decision of the federal arbitration court, which thinks it has to harass the observation of the Constitutional right of freedom of opinion with a public reprimand
  • secondly the fact that the SPD party leadership simultaneously does not draw a clear line of separation with the PDS/Left but even - in the States - encourages cooperation with this party although its entanglement with the Stasi [former East German secret police - nanne] is manifest and
  • thirdly lets an economic policy be conducted which - as IGBCE Director [the mineworkers union - nanne] Hubertus Schmoldt recently called to attention again - will result in a deindustrialisation of our country.
Ich bedauere sehr, diesen Schritt, zu dem ich mich nach gründlicher Abwägung entschlossen habe, tun zu müssen. I very much regret having to take this step, to which I have made up my mind after thorough consideration
An den weiteren Diskussionen und Auseinandersetzungen um die hier angesprochenen Fragen werde ich mich - nunmehr als Sozialdemokrat ohne Parteibuch - nach Kräften beteiligen."I will participate in further discussions and arguments around the issues addressed herein - now as a social democrat without a party book - according to strength.

As you might guess, Clement has decided to tie his fate to the coal industry, which I noted in this comment, back in January. This is no new development. Under the Schröder government, the environment and economy ministries were perpetually fighting over the extent of emission reductions and control over the energy portfolio. I once thought that this was mainly due to the different orientation of the bureaucracies, which I still think to be an important factor (the differences continue to this day), but I must say that the way Clement has developed into a total flunky for coal makes me think he had quite a bit of influence, too.

Wahlkampf: Clement warnt vor Wahl von Andrea Ypsilanti - Nachrichten Politik - WELT ONLINECampaign: Clement warns against electing Andrea Ypsilanti - News on Politics - WELT ONLINE
Clement ist 2005 aus der Politik ausgeschieden. Seitdem arbeitet er für Unternehmen, unter anderem im Aufsichtsrat der RWE-Kraftwerkstochter RWE Power AG. Sein Verhältnis zur SPD ist zunehmend distanziert. Vor Weihnachten hatte er die SPD davor gewarnt, sich weiter an die Linkspartei anzunähern. Einen solchen Schritt würde er nicht mitmachen. Die kaum verblümte Warnung eines prominenten SPD-Mitgliedes vor einer Stimmabgabe für die SPD ist dennoch ungewöhnlich. Clement left politics in 2005. Since then, he has worked for corporations, amongst others in the supervisory board of the RWE Power Plant daughter RWE Power AG. His relationship with the SPD is growing increasingly distant. Before Christmas he had warned the SPD not to make a further move towards the Left Party. He would not follow such a move. The barely hidden warning of a prominent SPD member just prior to an election for the SPD is nonetheless unusual.

The coal industry is dying but not quite dead yet in Germany, a sad occassion that has much to do with the SPD's nostalgia for things that no longer are and will never be again. The industry has also been getting more and more labour efficient, to the point where it is hard to see why exactly a social democratic party should be propping it up. Here's a graph to help you out, thanks to DoDo for the data:

Energy Employment in Germany. Sources: wind-energie.de / solarwirtschaft.de / kohlenstatistik.de
Note: numbers for coal/lignite are only for extraction, and exclude power station operation (which should add about a third) and construction; wind and solar are (conservative) estimates

The SPIEGEL is now saying that the exit of Clement from the SPD is looking bad on Müntefering. Münte has made no secret of his desire to keep Clement in the party. On Clement's leave he stated that he had asked Clement to stay, and even made a call to Clement after he had received his letter of resignation to see if nothing could be worked out. Müntefering now says that he 'regrets' Clement's decision.

In a way, Münte is out there taking the fire in the press, because he can take it. However, the SPD's likely Kanzlerkandidat Frank-Walter Steinmeier was also prominent in making overtures to Clement. I said that this would come back to bite him, so this is yet another 'I told you so' moment.

Take note that Clement also directs fire against Steinmeier et al in Berlin [for mishandling the Hesse issue]. Some gratitude. Here's Steinmeier, back in August.

Parteiausschluss: Steinmeier verteidigt Clement - Politik - SPIEGEL ONLINE - NachrichtenParty expulsion: Steinmeier defends Clement - Politics - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News
Rückhalt für Wolfgang Clement: SPD-Vize Steinmeier stellt sich im SPIEGEL-Interview energisch hinter den früheren Wirtschaftsminister, der aus der Partei ausgeschlossen werden soll. Clement sei ein Querdenker, aber kein Querulant, sagt Steinmeier.Backing for Wolfgang Clement: in an interview with SPIEGEL [then] SPD vice party leader Steinmeier puts himself energetically behind the former minister of economy, who would be expelled from the party. Clement is a lateral thinker, but not a troublemaker, Steinmeier says.

A complete Fehleinschätzung. Clement is a smug, self-serving man who basks in the media attention he gets for sticking it to his own party. Someday Steinmeier will get his share of trouble with him, too.

The FDP is now asking Clement to join. Perhaps he should. He's already talking the lingo. The curious part of the story is the amount of trouble the reformist part of the party went through to keep Clement aboard when he's clearly damaging the party and is at least rhetorically much further right than either Steinmeier or Müntefering. My speculation would be that they are trying to cultivate or at least maintain a heavy right flank to be able to position themselves more successfully in the centre.

The good part of this story is that the European Parliament elections are still quite remote and the general election in Germany is even further down. The SPD still has a chance to redefine itself and close ranks.

Display:
Clement became a favourite of ET in this year for his incessant calls to continue reforms, which were of course inevitable, as called by melanchton and afew in the January 14th Salon. DoDo then posted a notice of his shots at Ypsilanti a few days later... and further shots at the SPD prior to the Hamburg election in February. Fran highlighted the division in the SPD over Clement's expulsion in the August 1st Salon, and then when the Hesse coalition finally failed in November, I noted that Clement was crowing loudly in the SPIEGEL.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Nov 26th, 2008 at 06:25:46 AM EST
Excellent ET sleuth work, nanne!

And thanks for covering the Clement... departure. Yes, I think his usefulness as seen by Münte and Steinmeier was as a "centrist" token. This is an illustration (yet another) of the inroads made by the story "centre is good, centre is without ideology, centre just wants to fix practical problems... the right is centre..." It's common to both Europe and the US, see Lieberman.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 26th, 2008 at 07:12:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nanne:
Clement became a favourite of ET in this year for his incessant calls to continue reforms, which were of course inevitable, as called by melanchton and afew

Aha! I told you so!  I knew there was a conspiracy afoot to reform ET.  It's time we expelled those reformist interlopers from the nether regions of France....

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 26th, 2008 at 11:36:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Curses! Uncovered! ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 04:50:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can also read some swipes at Clement from long before the Ypsilanti episode, in the 2005 elections post-mortem German coalition poker: Who will blink first? by the sadly absent brainwave.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 26th, 2008 at 03:21:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's funny that no one mentioned Steinmeier in that thread.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Nov 26th, 2008 at 03:56:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Under the Schröder government, the environment and economy ministries were perpetually fighting over the extent of emission reductions and control over the energy portfolio.

In a little more detail:

Clement entered federal politics after the 2002 elections, when Schröder thought pushing Clement to the forefront could give a boost to the government and the SPD: Clement got both the economy and labour ministry, for which reason he was referred to informally as Superminister.

However, right at the start, Clement faced unbending opposition from environment minister Jürgen Trittin/Greens: on the issue of who is responsible for renewables. Clement, with some justification, insisted that energy policy is the remit of his ministry, but Trittin had every reason (see below) to suspect ill will, and prevailed.

The two continued in the same manner on all the other main reforms introduced by the Greens: highway tolls, can deposit, review of the feed-in law and the exceptions to it. To my continuing amazement (and to Clement's rising and ever more public frustration) Trittin usually prevailed.

The one issue where Clement was stronger (because he got the support of most of the SPD) was... coal. The Greens long demanded the elimination of coal mining subventions. By the time they got a shot at it, Clement was in, and it can be counted as an achievement that in the end at least a continuous reduction of the subventions was agreed.

I once thought that this was mainly due to the different orientation of the bureaucracies, which I still think to be an important factor (the differences continue to this day), but I must say that the way Clement has developed into a total flunky for coal makes me think he had quite a bit of influence, too.

Well, Clement's total flunky is not a new development.

Clement hails from the Ruhr Area. The SPD used to have total control there, a power based in no small part on coal miners. (The number of employees in coal mining in Germany peaked at 607,000 in 1957, more than 80% of this in the Ruhr area!) Clement grew up in this.

What's more, he has a personal history of conflict as economy minister (1995-8) and then PM of Northrhine-Westphalia, the state harbouring the Ruhr Area. For all this time, he was in a coalition government with the Greens, which was a marriage of inconvenience, marked by heavy and very public internal conflict, especially with environment minister Bärbel Höhn.

The main conflict concerned coal: the coal mining subventions in general, and specifically Garzweiler-II, a then planned open-cast coal mine extension. (After a 'marathon run' to crush all resistance, the excavators began to munch it in 2006.)

But Clement was a man for conflict in completely unrelated fields, too. For example, after he became PM between elections, he merged the justice and interior ministries. Separation of powers, anyone?... The most significant opposition was again his coalition partner...

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

by DoDo on Wed Nov 26th, 2008 at 03:02:15 PM EST
One battle Clement won with Trittin was the fight over the amount of allowances Germany would issue in the first phase of the European emissions trading scheme. This was the 2005-2008 phase, over which the European Commission had less control. Emission reductions only needed to be consistent with a 'path' towards eventually meeting the commitment under the burden-sharing agreement the EU had made with regard to the Kyoto target.

The 'national allocation plans' started off well with a tight plan being offered by the United Kingdom. Then everyone was looking at what the Germans would do, and when the German plan turned out to be permissive, the rest turned in permissive plans to and the Commission was not in the position to correct them by more than a few tonnes of CO2 equivalents. This eventually led to the bottom falling out of the first ETS market as of course real emissions stayed markedly below the cumulative cap that was set.

Then again, the bottom falling out of the market really worried the Commission and led it to become much more proactive in the second (current) period, which has seen the German cap being reduced far below what Trittin originally proposed for the second period.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Nov 26th, 2008 at 03:48:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should point out that this SPD relationship with coal and Clement's personal development shows that there may be structural reasons for the centre-left's swing to the right.

I mean, the SPD being pro-coal was originally just a consequence of being pro-jobs and pro-workers. Then, with simultanerously reducing production and improving productivity, jobs in coal mining reduced to 5%(!) of their peak, while the companies in the business still remained big. But the old SPD guys never changed -- or, more correctly, they changed in their personal life, by experiencing upward social mobility, and getting seated on company supervisory boards for reasons other than being union delegates.

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

by DoDo on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 03:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
note: numbers for coal exclude power station operation (which should add about a third)

I'd love to find a definite source; but from what I can find, more like a fourth.

  • Lignite: 22,551 employed in coal mining (including power plants for own use) and 5,959 in brown coal firing power plants (end of September);
  • RAG (energy giant with near-monopoly in coal mining): 35,000 employed in the coal subsidiary, 4,900 in the energy (power plant) subsidiary (in 2006)


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 26th, 2008 at 03:50:55 PM EST
Just to make things cozier:

RAG is now Evonik Industries, and the chairman of the executive board is Werner Müller - Clement's predecessor as economic minister.

Small world...

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 04:14:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be precise, RAG continues to exist, keeping the coal mining core business, while its power plant unit, along with the also strong chemical industry unit and others went to Evonik.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 04:28:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Münte just can't cut loose and can't see the light:

SPD.de - Aktuell: News - November 2008: Clements Entscheidung zur Kenntnis genommen SPD.de - Aktuell: News - November 2008: Clements decision taken notice of
"Es ist schade, dass er nicht weiter in der Partei mitarbeiten will. Platz wäre gewesen, zumal nach der vermittelnden Entscheidung der Bundesschiedskommission der SPD gestern. Aber nun wird es auch so gehen", sagte Müntefering am Montag nach einem Telefonat mit Clement."It is a pity that he did does not want to continue collaborating in the party. There would have been place for him, after the mediating decision by the Federal Arbitration Commission of the SPD yesterday. But it goes this way, too", Müntefering said on Monday after a telephone conversation with Clement.
Müntefering betonte, die Entscheidung Wolfgang Clements schmälere seine Verdienste in der Vergangenheit um eine zeitgemäße Politik im Sinne der sozialdemokratischen Idee nicht.Müntefering stressed that Wolfgang Clement's decision doesn't diminish his past merits for a modern politics in the spirit of the Social Democrat idea.

(More later, I'm busy.)

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

by DoDo on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 04:23:25 AM EST
Here is the reaction of Clement's current successor as leader of the Northrhine-Westphalia SPD (now in opposition):

NRWSPD - die SPD in Nordrhein-Westfalen NRWSPD - the SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia
Pressemitteilung von Hannelore Kraft: press release of Hannelore Kraft:
,,Die Verdienste von Wolfgang Clement für die SPD und Nordrhein-Westfalen sind unbestritten. Das bleibt.Wolfgang Clement's merits for the SPD and Northrhine-Westphalia are undisputed. That remains.

So far an apparently agreed formula identical to Münte's. But she follows up in more accusatory tone:

Im Parteiordnungsverfahren hat Wolfgang Clements Anwalt Otto Schily vor der Bundesschiedskommission im Namen von Wolfgang Clement einen Kompromiss akzeptiert. Das Wesen eines Kompromisses sind Zugeständnisse beider Seiten. Nach der Entscheidung der Bundesschiedskommission war ein gemeinsamer Weg möglich. Die SPD hat deutlich gemacht, dass Wolfgang Clement weiterhin seinen Platz in der SPD gehabt hätte. Die Brücke war gebaut.
Wolfgang Clement hat entschieden, diese Brücke nicht zu betreten und die SPD zu verlassen. Das ist seine persönliche Entscheidung.
In the party regulatory procedure, Wolfgang Clement's lawyer Otto Schily accepted a compromise on behalf of Wolfgang Clement before the Federal Arbitration Commission. The essence of a compromise are concessions by both sides. After the decision of the Federal Arbitration Commission, walking down the same road was possible. The SPD has made clear that Wolfgang Clement could still have his place in the SPD. The bridge was built.
Wolfgang Clement has decided to not step on the bridge and to leave the SPD. That is his personal decision.
Wir bedauern, dass Wolfgang Clement kein Sozialdemokrat mehr sein will."We regret that Wolfgang Clement does not want to be a Social Democrat anymore.

She exposes the calculated provocateur. But even she, a pragmatist like former federal party boss Beck, seems among those SPD leaders who don't know what hit them.

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

by DoDo on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 07:20:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, they did not show any sadness...

Ypsilanti refrained from a reply.

Federal party vice-chair(wo)Man Andrea Nahles applied dry humour:

: Analyse: Die SPD trauert nur verhalten um Clement | Frankfurter Rundschau - Dienstag : Analysis: The SPD mourns Clement only moderately | Frankfurter Rundschau - Tuesday
"Reisende muss man ziehen lassen""Travellers must be allowed to go"

Rudolf Malzahn, boss of the Bochum-Hamme local SPD that originally initiated the party exclusion procedure against Clement, gave a longer interview. He also noted Clement's hypocrisy in going to the Federal Arbitration Court, letting his lawyer [Schröder's former federal interior minister] accept a compromise, and then play pompous before the media. But I quote another part:

Deutschlandfunk - Interview - "Wir hätten auch mit Clement weitergearbeitet" Deutschlandfunk [public radio] - Interview - "We would also have continued to work with Clement"
Schulz: Aber der Austritt Wolfgang Clements ist ein Erfolg für die SPD-Linke?[Reporter] Schulz: But the resignation of Wolfgang Clement is a success for the SPD-Left?
Malzahn: Das kann ich nicht als Erfolg sagen. Ich sage mal, bei uns ist überhaupt kein Hurrah-Geschrei oder Hosianna, dass Clement jetzt aus der Partei ist, aber ich bin froh. Wir haben es versucht, Ruhe in der SPD einkehren zu lassen, mit Müntefering und allen Beteiligten in Berlin, und ich sage mal, es kehrt jetzt Ruhe ein. Nach 14 Tagen, drei Wochen spricht keiner mehr über Clement.Malzahn: I can not call that a success. I will say that there is no Hurrah-clamour or Hosanna at all among us about Clement now being out of the party, but I'm happy. We have tried to bring about calm in the SPD, with Müntefering and all involved in Berlin, and let me just say, calmness will now prevail. In 14 days, three weeks no one will speak about Clement anymore.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 07:50:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ones willing to use a sharp tongue... Volker Beck, party whip in the federal parliament:

Volker Beck - Clement wie wir ihn kennen: Schadensmaximierung Volker Beck - Clement as we know him: maximizing damage
Das ist Wolfgang Clement wie wir ihn kennen.This is Wolfgang Clement as we know it.
Mit seinem Vorgehen hat er den Schaden für die SPD maximiert.With his approach he maximized the damage for the SPD.
Clement ist kein Vertreter wirtschaftspolitischer Vernunft, sondern nicht mehr und nicht weniger als ein Lobbyist von RWE, dem zweitgrößten Energieversorgungskonzern Deutschlands, der vor allem auf Kohleverstromung und Atomenergie setzt.Clement is not a representative of economic sanity, but no more and no less than a lobbyist for RWE, the second biggest energy supply corporation in Germany, which bets above all on electricity from coal and nuclear energy.
Wes Brot ich ess, des Lied ich sing. Allzu ernst sollte man seine interessensgeleiteten Einlassungen zur Energiepolitik daher künftig nicht nehmen.Whose bread I eat, his song I sing. One shouldn't therefore take his interest-guided statements on energy policy too seriously in the future.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 08:05:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Sozialdemokrat ohne Parteibuch" - DIE WELT - WELT ONLINE"Social democrat without a membership card"
Unionsfraktionschef Volker Kauder sagte, der Austritt signalisiere, dass "bürgerliche, vernünftige Sozialdemokraten keine Heimat mehr" in der SPD besäßen. FDP-Chef Westerwelle meinte, der Schritt mache die Regierungskoalition in Berlin "noch wackliger". Der nordrhein-westfälische Landesverband der FDP bot sich dem Ex-Sozialdemokraten als neue politische Heimat an.Volker Kauder, leader of the CDU/CSU parliamentary fraction, said that the resignation signaled that "centrist, reasonable social democrats no longer have a home" in the SPD. FDP head [Guido] Westerwelle opined that this step made the governing coalition in Berlin "even shakier". The North Rhine Westphalian FDP state party organization offered the ex-social democrat a new political home.

The Welt has a little picture of Schröder in the banner over this story with the caption "the Farewell the the Gerd Generation".

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 08:12:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. What a shame we can't autonumber the subject headers.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 08:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Westerwelle was really funny: he listed all the prominent neolib deserters and invited them to his party: Clement/ex-SPD, Oswald Metzger/ex-Greens (mentioned in Martin's diary) and now sidelined-in-the-CDU, and Friedrich Merz/still-CDU (see diary on a talk show appearance).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 08:35:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lol - while secretly hoping that none of them take him up on it. Clement would blow Westerwelle away in a New York minute, and even Merz would give him a run for his money.

Westerwelle's continuing longevity in his party is an abiding mystery to me.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 09:10:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh. Amazingly, you get the most biting and most thorough denouncement of Clement... in conservative media flaship FAZ, in an op-ed by Patrick Bahners. I won't quote it because I can't pick out any shorter part.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 08:43:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly, the four rebels in Hessen state who foiled the prime ministership of Andrea Ypsilanti, won't go this far. By now all four declared that they will stand down from candidature in the new state elections called for after their action. With arguments on what's good for the party:

"Würde ich antreten, würde dies vor allem in meinem Unterbezirk Wetterau zu einer extremen Polarisierung führen. Das wäre Gift für die Partei.""Would I stand [for candidature], that would lead to an extreme polarisation, especially in my election district Wetterau. That would be poison for the party."

(This was Jürgen Walter, the one I called The Traitor.)

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

by DoDo on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 08:23:14 AM EST
Thanks for these updates on German politics. This summer I watched a cabaret while I was in Berlin, and I almost understood most of the political gags just from reading you guys' diaries :-P

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 27th, 2008 at 04:23:07 PM EST


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