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The Traitor

by DoDo Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 09:04:35 AM EST

Don't let the other side win by chasing purity. Don't endanger achieving what little can be achieved by insisting that all follow your way. Don't play self-important, everyone has to bring sacrifices for their party.

Wasn't this what the centrists of the Left said to their left wing again and again over the past two decades? Be they the New Labourites and Bliarites in the UK's Labour Party, the DLC in the Democratic Party in the USA, Third Wayists all over Europe, including Schröderites in Germany's Social Democrats (SPD).

But what do they do when it would be their turn to support their comrades? On positions endorsed by 95% of their party?

Right: for purity, they rather let the other side win, prevent the advancement of any of their party's goals, all this not without personal motivation, and backstab their comrades.

In the German state of Hessen, after a ten month struggle to form a new government, after marathon talks for an SPD-Greens minority government with Left Party outside support, after test voting a month ago, after wide majorities of all levels of all three parties gave their approval, one day before the crucial vote -- four members of the Hessen SPD's right wing, led by vice-chairman Jürgen Walter, declared they won't support their left-wing party boss Andrea Ypsilanti for PM.

Jürgen Walter and Andrea Ypsilanti on an DPA photo from SPIEGEL.

Brought across by afew

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer

The four regional MP rebels include Dagmar Metzger, the woman whose early declaration of rebellion lengthened the process so much, two more like-minded backbenchers who did speak out on prior party congresses, but voted for Ypsilanti in the test vote -- and Hessen SPD vice-chairman Jürgen Walter.

The rivalry between Walter and Ypsilanti began almost exactly two years ago. In the German state led by the scariest and most ruthless CDU PM, the battered SPD held leadership elections. The centrist-dominated federal leadership favoured someone of their kind, the regional parliament faction leader, a centrist financial expert: Jürgen Walter. But to great surprise of everyone, on 2 December 2006, he lost to an oft-dismissed woman from the party left wing: Andrea Ypsilanti.

As per the section title, Walter became Ypsilanti's vice. He stayed loyal while she ran an unconventional election strategy of unabashed leftism and attacking PM Roland Koch on his supposed strengths -- which in January was enough to eliminate Roland Koch's seemingly unassailable government majority, but not for a desired SPD-Greens majority.

When, after the failure of all attempts to form three-party coalitions, the minority government option came up, Walter stayed silent. When there was uproar from right-wing and centrist politicians and media about reliance on the Left Party, he professed loyalty in the public.

However, now we know that he began the backstabbing already then. Tucked away in the SPIEGEL article on last Saturday's Hessen SPD special congress, at which 95% approved the minority government coalition contract but Walter made his opposition public, I found this passage:

Bereits im Frühjahr war er Stichwortgeber für Journalisten, die sich über eine rot-grün-rote Zusammenarbeit ausließen.Already in the spring, he was giving cues to journalists who ranted on about a red-Green-red cooperation.

I note that I believe to discover a whiff of journalistic guilty feelings in this revelation, upon realising that they have been had in Walter's personal power games, while the woman they described as selfishly power-hungry in pursuing the PM job turned out to enjoy overwhelming party support. Then again, only a whiff -- since then SPIEGEL rolled out all the heavy guns against (read resident neocon Claus Christian Malzahn's op-ed if you must).

The alienated saboteur

After blowing it for the first time, in no small part at the urging of the Greens, Ypsilanti & co prepared for a second attempt at the PM vote with a marathon plan of asking for the approval of every level of all three parties over the course of two months. It was then that Walter gave the first public signals of rebellion.

At a previous Hessen SPD special party conference a month ago, 98% approved the start of coalition talks with the Greens. Seeing the width of Ypsilanti's support, Walter thought to undercut her by pushing demands unacceptable for the Greens.

SPD in Hessen: Ypsilanti bringt Genossen auf Linie - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Politik SPD in Hessen: Ypsilanti brings comrades in line - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - Politics
...Ypsilantis ewiger Rivale Jürgen Walter [spricht] davon, die SPD werde sich "hart" für den Flughafenausbau einsetzen - in Frankfurt wie in Kassel-Calden. Ebenso dürften die Autobahnprojekte A44 und A49 "nicht gefährdet" werden. Dabei greift Walter tief in die Trickkiste: Zu diesen Maßnahmen "stehen wir, genauso wie es Andrea in ihrer Rede gesagt hat". Die Vorsitzende bläst die Backen auf, das passt ihr gerade gar nicht. "So hat sie es nicht gesagt", schimpft ein Delegierter aus dem Schwalm-Eder-Kreis....Ypsilanti's eternal rival Jürgen Walter [says] that the SPD will fight "hard" for airport expansion - in Frankfurt as well as in Kassel-Calden. Similarly, the highway projects A44 and A49 can "not be threatened". Walter reaches deep into his bag of tricks: We "stand by" these measures "just like Andrea said in her speech". The chairman puffs her cheeks, this does not suit her at all right now. "She didn't say it that way", railed a delegate from the Schwalm-Eder district.
Tatsächlich sprach Ypsilanti lediglich davon, sie werde "versuchen", die SPD-Position durchzusetzen. Von einem unantastbaren Projekt, wie es Walter suggeriert, keine Rede. And in fact, Ypsilanti only spoke about "trying" to prevail with the SPD's position. No word about an inviolable project as suggested by Walter.

However, it came worse for Walter. Not only did the coalition talks run smoothly, but he had to realise he won't get the hoped-for position in Ypsilanti's government: economy minister. Ypsilanti's choice should not have came as a surprise at all: Hermann Scheer drafted one of her key election programmes: a big push for renewables. Walter was offered the faction leadership, which he refused.

Walter still did not retract his promise to elect Ypsilanti. Instead, he attacked the draft coalition contract he himself signed on to as negotiator -- as one threatening tens of thousands of jobs. He repeated that line as his reason today. (Now tell me what the MSM would say about a party leftie blocking his leader on the grounds that his plans threaten jobs and social security and labour rights...) But again only 5% sided with him and the anti-communist conscience rebels.

The situation was not lost on Hessen state Greens, who held their own conference a day later. So they warned potential rebels that hiding behind the secret vote won't be taken kindly, and said (implicitely, but in no uncertain terms) that they should forget about the Greens as coalition partner if they topple Ypsilanti tomorrow.

It was probably this unexpected strong pressure that forced the rebels to come out, in which I can hardly imagine that Walter did not play the crucial role as organisator.

...and behind the scenes, Schröder's ghost laughs

In an article on the Hessen Greens after their own special party conference on Sunday, SPIEGEL notes:

Der Gast aus Berlin, Parteichef Reinhard Bütikofer, spricht ... vom "großen Interesse" der Bundespartei, dass die "hessischen Parteifreunde" es schaffen.The guest from Berlin, party chief Reinhard Bütikofer ... speaks of the "great interest" the federal party takes in the success of the "Hessian party friends".
Bei Ypsilantis Parteitag ließ sich übrigens am Samstag niemand von der SPD-Prominenz aus der Hauptstadt blicken - weder der Vorsitzende Franz Müntefering noch Spitzenkandidat Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Nicht einmal Generalsekretär Hubertus Heil.By the way, at Ypsilanti's party congress on Saturday, none of the prominent members of the SPD from the capital showed up - neither chairman Franz Müntefering, nor chancellor candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Not even general secretary Hubertus Heil.

You remember, the Schröderite Old Guard regained power in a semi-coup two months ago. While there is no evidence of their direct involvement in the rebellion of Walter & co, they could have intervened, but didn't.

In fact, Müntefering practised some praise with faint damning. Quoting from an IMO in truth mis-titled SPIEGEL article:

Drama in Hessen: Müntefering greift hessische SPD-Abweichler an - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Politik Drama in Hessen: Müntefering attacks Hessian SPD dissenters - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - Politics
"Ich rede nicht von einem Komplott", sagte Müntefering am Montag in Berlin. Aber die Abweichler hätten ihre Entscheidung zu einem Zeitpunkt getroffen, zu dem ein "verantwortliches Gegensteuern nicht mehr möglich war". Er kritisierte scharf, dass die Gruppe um SPD-Landesvize Jürgen Walter über Monate signalisiert habe, den Schritt mitzugehen und erst "wenige Stunden vor der Abstimmung ihr Gewissen entdeckt" habe."I will not talk about a conspiracy", Müntefering said on Monday in Berlin. But the dissenters took their decision at a time at which "steering in the opposite direction was no more possible in a responsible way". He criticized sharply that the group around state SPD vice-chairman Jürgen Walter signaled for months that they will go along with this step, and only "a few hours before the vote did they discover their conscience".
Auf die Frage, ob das Verhalten der vier Landtagsabgeordneten parteischädigend sei, sagte Müntefering, es sei zumindest "schade, dass es so passiert ist".Answering the question of whether the conduct of the four members of the regional parliament was damaging for the party, Müntefering said that it was at least "a shame that it happened this way."

Speak: the problem is only that they waited for so long with stalling the wish of 95% of their party. He also felt necessary to reinforce that there will be no cooperation with the Left Party at a federal level. And, most ominously, it's not the rebels he wants to consult with immediately, their decision the finished past, instead...

Die Bundes-SPD werde jetzt versuchen zu helfen, kündigte Müntefering an. ... Er werde mit Ypsilanti in Kürze beraten, wie es in Hessen weitergehe.The federal SPD will now try to help, Müntefering announced. ... He will soon consult Ypsilanti about how things should continue in Hessen.

Postscript: in SPIEGEL's analysis, contrary to my view, Müntefering & co wished a smooth election of Ypsilanti in Hessen just so that the SPD's internal troubles over it come to an end. But they too think he left Ypsilanti's future open.

I realise "traitor" is a strong word, especially with the sig I use. But I think it fits the situation exactly, as well as my narrative above the fold -- say, compare when Müntefering called Oskar Lafontaine a traitor.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 03:18:31 PM EST
There is an interesting account of behind-the-scenes actions yesterday in sueddeutsche.

  • Apparently, the four attempted to woo more SPD MPs, but failed -- even party right-wing people were outraged.

  • The second and third conscientous objector had strong contact to Ypsilanti's predecessor as party leader (the guy even hired bodyguards for the event when the four stood before the media yesterday), but that man denies any contact to Walter for a long time.

  • The four did tell Ypsilanti in advance, by phone, but rejected her last-ditch appeal for a talk.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 01:23:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Schröderite Old Guard regained power in a semi-coup two months ago. While there is no evidence of their direct involvement in the rebellion of Walter & co

At the very least, it must have been an encouraging circumstance for Walter and his buddies. Who wouldn't have "found their conscience" without it, perhaps?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 03:52:18 PM EST
Heh, did not think of the simple inspiration angle myself... So Münte is right, no conspiracy may have been needed, even on his part...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 04:13:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
from my reading here, it doesn't relfect well on the gang of four at all, who look as tho' they've been enacting playground games in the Hessen parliament.

Voters tend not to like people messing about on their dollar, so it may not bode well for them elecotrally. Sadly I think this has also set back Ypsilanti for a couple of cycles. But this could be an opportunity to build a wider base around the left if she's smart which I think she is.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 04:30:09 PM EST
It's clear that they buried their political career.

However, I grant different levels of culpability to them: one made her total opposition public alrewady back in March, and just kept to it (I fault her for not keeping the debate/criticism/ultimatum within the party then), the two other conscientous objectors at leasat made their arguments heard at party congresses earlier, but Walter is just spineless. Even SPIEGEL describes him as hiding behind the principled women.

Sadly, I think the events today mean new elections and another five years of the insufferable Koch. Ypsilanti's only chance is if she can direct blame for the ten-month mess towards the gang of four, while her party members communicate that 95% support towards voters; but the MSM is working against her. Not to mention the federal party leadership.

We'll see what transpires.

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

by DoDo on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 05:03:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If she and Scheer draft an intelligent renewables program, and market it well, and if the Hessen party continues to back her, won't she do well in the next election?  Won't economic issues help the Hessen SPD?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 05:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Under the present conditions, with these poll numbers already before the debacle, I fear actual issues would not matter.

I await the next poll from Hessen anxiously...

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

by DoDo on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 05:16:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We had a similar case in Madrid in 2003 and it resulted in a new election in which the PP won an outright absolute majority (as opposed to a plurality with a PSOE-IU majority of 1) and 8 years of Esperanza Aguirre who is now poised to succeed Rajoy in the national PP leaderhip when the hard core of the party decides to finally get rid of him.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 05:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For German-speakers: good commentary by Heribert Prantl in sueddeutsche.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 06:20:31 PM EST
In a taz interview with Priska Hinz (Greens), who would have became culture minister under Ypsilanti, she notes that the conscience-plagued had no trouble voting down CDU plans with the Left Party in the past 10 months (the left-of-centre majority fulfilled an election promise by kicking tuition fees). Also, she doesn't want to exclude any constellation for after new elections (naming Ypsilanti's pre-elections rejection of the Left Party as the bad example).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 06:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The heaviest criticism for Ypsilanti (apart from the usual suspects in the punditry) come from the Greens (alos in the above interview), for a failure to keep his own in line. But I can only partly agree.

You can't say there was no sustained attempt to keep the dissenters on board. All four rebels noted that they have been "under extreme pressure". Then again, that may mean that Ypsilanti and her supporters relied solely Schröder's and Müntefering's recipe for disacipline from the olden' days, mobbing. And yet again, I don't see a lot of other choices.

For example, I don't understand how anyone could have thought that giving Walter the economic ministry to keep him from rebelling was in the realm of the possible. This is the key post for one of Ypsilanti's key election themes, a potential saboteur there would just have killed her ambitious renewables program -- and especially Greens should see that.

Still, maybe more would have been possible. I have this crazy idea that maybe the big anti-communists could have been moved if Ypsilanti had them sit down for a long chat in small circle with van Ooyen & co.

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

by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:53:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I see it is fair criticism towards the Soc dems as an organisation.

Parties remain competitors even if they cooperate. When party A makes a deal they need to know that party B will uphold their part. If the deal falls through party A needs to establish that it was party B's fault, so as not to be blamed by the voters.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 01:58:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Today, the same Heribert Prantl attacked Müntefering, in which he outlines the point afew makes upthread. He also says:

Parteichef Müntefering hätte, weil die Verirrungen und Verwirrungen in Hessen augenscheinlich waren, als Mediator, als Schlichter und Vermittler und Psychotherapeut tätig werden müssen.Given that the aberrations and confusion were evident in Hessen, party chairman Müntefering should have became active as mediator, conciliator and mediator and psychotherapist.
Seine Unterlassung war sträflich. Es war ein schwerer Fehler mit weitreichenden Folgen, Andrea Ypsilanti und den oder die Abtrünnigen nicht an einen Tisch zu holen.His omission was criminal. It was a serious mistake with far-reaching consequences to not bring Andrea Ypsilanti and the rebels to one table.

To be fair, Münte was in a damned if I do, damned if I don't position: it would have been rather difficult for him to come and not be seen as partial to Metzger & Walter, and the party Left pushed him hard to accept the autonomy of regional party branches upon his return to power.

Still, for the benefit of the party, he should have attempted something anyway.

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

by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 01:06:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The SPIEGEL wrote:

Drama in Hessen: Müntefering greift hessische SPD-Abweichler an - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - PolitikDrama in Hessen: Müntefering attacks Hessian SPD dissenters - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - Politics
Der späte Zeitpunkt, zu dem drei der vier Abgeordneten ihre Entscheidung bekannt gaben, sei etwas, "das man unter dem Gesichtspunkt Verantwortung diskutieren kann und muss". Den Begriff "parteischädigend" wollte Müntefering nicht explizit benutzen, da dies ein Grund für einen Parteiausschluss sein kann. " Da gibt es geordnete Verfahren, es ist nicht an mir, dort Empfehlungen zu geben", sagte er.The late hour at which the four delegates gave notice of their decision would be something "that one can and has to discuss in the context of responsibility". Müntefering did not want to explicitly use the term 'damaging to the party', as it can be a ground for expulsion. "There are relevant procedures for this, it is not my place to give recommendations" he said.

Today, Stern reports:

Nach Hessen-Debakel: SPD-Rebellen droht Partei-Ausschluss - Politik - STERN.DEAfter the Hesse Debacle: SPD-Rebels under threat of expulsion - Politics - STERN.DE
Wie soll es nach dem Scheitern von Andrea Ypsilanti in Hessen weitergehen? Grüne und FDP befürworten Neuwahlen, eine denkbare Jamaika-Koalition kommt wohl nicht zustande. Ein SPD-Ortsverein hat gegen die vier Rebellen, die die Machtübernahme verhindert haben, ein Ausschlussverfahren eingeleitet.How should things continue after the failure of Andrea Ypsilanti in Hesse? The Greens and the FDP support new elections, an imaginable Jamaica-Coalition [CDU/FDP/Greens] will not be brought about. A local SPD association has initiated an expulsion procedure against the four rebels who had impeded the [SPD's] coming into power.
Nach dem gescheiterten Versuch einer rot-grünen Minderheitsregierung in Hessen sind die vier abtrünnigen SPD-Landtagsabgeordneten in ihrer Partei unter heftigen Beschuss geraten. Ein Frankfurter Ortsverein stellte am Dienstag einen Antrag auf Ausschluss des Quartetts aus der SPD.After the failed attempt at a red-green minority government in Hesse, the four renegade SPD delegates have gotten under heavy fire in their party. On Tuesday, a local association from Frankfurt filed a petition to expel the quartet from the SPD.
Schon am Montag hatte der Darmstädter Vorsitzende der SPD-Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Arbeitnehmerfragen, Horst Raupp, einen Ausschlussantrag gegen Jürgen Walter, Dagmar Metzger, Carmen Everts und Silke Tesch angekündigt. Inzwischen leitete der Frankfurter Ortsverein Bonames offiziell das Verfahren ein. "Das Verhalten dieser vier Genossen ist eindeutig parteischädigend", hieß es in dem entsprechenden Antrag an das Schiedsgericht des SPD-Bezirks Hessen Süd zur Begründung.On Monday, the president of the SPD's Darmstadt working committee on labour issues, Horst Raupp, had already announced a motion for expulsion against Jürgen Walter, Dagmar Metzger, Carmen Everts and Silke Tesch. In the mean while, the local Frankfurt association Bonames [a district of Frankfurt] has officially initiated the procedure. "The behaviour of the four comrades is clearly damaging to the party", the accordant petition to the arbitration court of the SPD district Hesse South stated as grounds.

So, we get new elections in Hesse.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 06:41:12 AM EST
saw on very late news last night how shocked and shaken Ypsilanti appeared.  ahhh politics. walter looked like a toad, croaking about losing 10,000 jobs. He belongs with the rest of the kool-aid drinkers in the FDP.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 07:11:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Although the CDU might suit him as well.

,,Vorgehen der SPD ist nicht nachvollziehbar" - Politik - Deutschland - Handelsblatt.com"Approach of the SPD is incomprehensible" - Politics - Germany - Handelsblatt.com
Wolfgang Clement: Ich bin froh, dass dieser Kelch an uns vorübergegangen ist. Ich habe hohen Respekt vor den vier SPD-Abgeordneten, die deutlich gemacht haben, dass sie den Wortbruch von Frau Ypsilanti nicht akzeptieren und mittragen können. Außerdem ist die ausgehandelte Koalitionsvereinbarung wirtschafts- und arbeitsmarktfeindlich. Deshalb ist es gut, dass diese Regierung nicht zustande kommt. Sie wäre für Hessen und Deutschland ein Rückschlag gewesen.Wolfgang Clement: I am happy, that this chalice has passed us by. I have great respect for the four SPD delegates, who have made clear that they do not accept and can not carry the breach of promise of Ms. Ypsilanti. Furthermore, the negotiated coalition agreement is hostile to the economy and the labour market. For that reason, it is good that this government will not come about. It would have been a setback for Hesse and Germany.

Take note that Clement also directs fire against Steinmeier et al in Berlin. 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.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 08:05:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clement has Joementum.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:35:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While the four are still not giving their mandates back, Walter resigned as vice-chairman, and another resigned all her party posts except the regional parliament membership.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 02:06:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, we get new elections in Hesse.

Who knows when. What I noted is that Koch learnt something: he didn't rush before the cameras to gloat, apparently realising by now that there can be a public perception blowback. So the CDU is NOT pushing hard for new elections, and is suggesting more talks (which are to be talks to nowhere).

Now it all depends on the Greens.

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

by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:39:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A new coalition, especially CDU/FDP/Greens, is not going to happen. The next session is somewhere next week, elections would then be only 6 months out. Middle January.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 01:06:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I mean is that the dissolution of parliament depends on Green votes, it is their choice when and how.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 01:17:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eeehm, that should have been weeks, not months. But both are off, the period is actually 60 days.

Now that both the FDP and the Greens have said that they want new elections, the CDU only needs to go along (and seems open to it). I think it's unavoidable at this point and Ypsilanti will also back it, perhaps postponing the decision a bit to let the election take place in early February.

More here.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 01:19:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eeehm, that should have been weeks, not months. But both are off, the period is actually 60 days.

I did suspect your math is wrong somewhere :-)

What remains to be seen is whether the Greens would vote for new elections without the SPD or not. I think that would say a lot about the future (for example, the viability of the hitherho unthinkable black-Green with Koch).

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

by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 01:26:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In an interview with SPIEGEL, Hessen Greens leader Tarek Al-Wazir makes new elections a simple question of majority -- i.e. he idnicates they won't wait for the SPD. What's more, much of the interview is an appeal to the CDU to tone down rhetoric to be acceptable.

Then again, he does so noting that Koch again "did it": he declared that "now the way is open again for highway and airport expansions", which is no way to get Greens into a Jamaica coalition [ = CDU + FDP + Greens].

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

by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 02:12:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't really know about your reading of Müntefering. I think he probably saw it as a choice between two evils. With Ypsilanti failing being worse. You have to keep in mind that he ended the Schröder II government because the CDU/CSU had gotten too powerful in the Bundesrat.

We'll have to see how the federal SPD reacts to the expulsion proceedings now. My guess is that unlike Clement, these four aren't going to get any backing from Steinmeier et al in Berlin.

Useful or useless, they're idiots.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 07:08:39 AM EST
In my reading, there were just too many things out of place: if he is more worried about the rebels, why does he wax lyrical about their reasons, and about Ypsilanti's broken promise? What sense does it make to start off by repeating the "promise" to not ally with the Left Party on the day that option died anyway? Why is he sowing doubts about Ypsilanti's future, while attempting a preemptive strike by implicitely appealing against the expulsion of the four? Why does he want to talk with Ypsilanti, and not the four?

On the other hand, by today, I see another reading: that the old man was just out of his depth. That the incoherence of his message was because he had no message worked out at all. That somehow he realises these four blew it big time, but doesn't know where it went all wrong.

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

by DoDo on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i agree w/ your analysis that he was caurght unaware.  But that's indictment itself.  Time to retire gracefully.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 01:11:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, 'discovering your conscience in the last moment' is not necessarily praise. Could even be read as sarcasm. But as far as I can see, he was trying to be careful.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 01:12:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent reporting, DoDo.   And a prize to the photographer who captured that defining look on Walter.  That´s a book by itself.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 04:10:39 PM EST

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