Steinmeier to win with the worst election results since 1955

Getting creamed just as bad as/even worse than their rival grand coalition counterparts CDU in three German regional elections held yesterday, Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) now expect to clean up big time at the big time national election to be held here on September 27.

A comedian to the end.

His party losing votes even more convincingly than usual, this time in Saarland, Saxony and Thuringia, SPD chancellor candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier is said to be absolutely thrilled to death already and just made a phone call to ex-boss ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s not-yet-ex-wife Doris Schröder-Köpf to ask her about how best to re-drape the Chancellery.

“A comedian for chancellor? Why not, Germans think.”


Five Card Opel Hold’em

“The German government has detailed financial support only for Magna, the more complex, controversial and higher-risk offer.”

I see that and raise you my middle finger.

“That has left GM suspecting that Germany is pandering to labor unions and seeking to curry favor with Moscow in preferring Magna.”

“The problem for Berlin could be that it has painted itself into a corner: damned if it pushes the high-risk Magna deal through, and damned if it doesn’t.”

Hmmm. Looks like the next big (German) government rescue plan might already be on its way.

“No wonder GM has revived ‘Plan B’ and may attempt to raise the $4.3 billion Opel needs to survive from other sources.”

German election campaigns are so dull…

How dull are they, you ask? Sure, we’re in the middle of a giant Sommerloch (the “summer hole”, that boring, no-news summer season when most media drones appear to be on vacation), or just crawling back out of it again. But opposition politicians trying to turn a dinner party hosted by Angela Merkel (16 months back) “that included the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann, and 30 other guests, contending that she used taxpayers’ money to celebrate Mr. Ackermann’s 60th birthday” into a campaign issue?

Birthdays for everybody!

Now that’s dull. And the election is just a few weeks out too, in case you were wondering, which you weren’t, especially now after having read this.

No matter. I’m sure that once everyone has climbed back out of this year’s summer hole the campaigning will get a whole lot more interesting. No I’m not. That was just like a figure of speech or something.

“The dinner was not a birthday party, but a dinner of schnitzel and cold asparagus for people prominent in business, culture, science and education, including Mr. Ackermann.”

Keep the cash a comin’

“Germany’s statistics office said Tuesday that government spending and a slide in tax revenue had led to a 17.3-billion-euro ($24.7 billion) budget deficit in the first half of 2009, compared with a 7-billion-euro surplus ($10 billion) last year.”

Debt is what you get.

“Ultimately Germany needs demand from its key trading partners–the United States and the rest of western Europe–to pick up. If not, all the government spending will mean its budget deficit will continue growing.”

“The German economy is still on a drip, getting infusions from policymakers. Some doubts remain whether the economy can stand on its own feet.”

Higher education

Or was it education for hire? That’s the good thing about this wonderful egalitarian German higher education system over here. Everything is so, well, egal (whatever). Studying doesn’t cost anything in Germany, you see, or next to nothing.

Now it's off to the third degree.

Except… When it comes to the ones how happen to be more egal/equal than you are. They are the folks who are in the position to pay Herr Dr. Professor (take you’re pick, he’s both) a little bakshish on the side for “supervising” their doctorates and thus guaranteeing academic success.

“They were told simply that paying the money would go a long way to ensuring their Ph.Ds were in the bag.”

Light Bulb Socialism in action

Remember when the image of a light bulb used to represent having a good idea? Well an EU ban ushering in the replacement of traditional light bulbs with the more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) type has got everybody in Germany coming up with a bright new idea of their own: Hoarding the old ones.

What a bright idea!

Sure it’s bureaucracy gone wild again, but it’s only for your own good again, folks. And this way, with you guys doing all that hoarding, everybody wins. The producers and sellers of those bad old evil old light bulbs included.

“Hardware stores and home-improvement chains in Germany are seeing massive increases in the sales of the traditional bulbs. Obi reports a 27 percent growth in sales over the same period a year ago. Hornbach has seen its frosted-glass light bulb sales increase by 40-112 percent. When it comes to 100-watt bulbs, Max Bahr has seen an 80 percent jump in sales, while the figure has been 150 percent for its competitor Praktiker.”

„Wiesner recounts a story of how one of his field representatives recently saw a man in a hardware store with a shopping cart full of light bulbs of all types worth more than €200 ($285). “That’s enough for the next 20 years.“

Time to say goodbye

From Afghanistan, for Germany, right before the coming German general election, get it?

 I'm the peace guy.

“Although the issue has so far not played a big part in the run-up to Germany’s September 27 federal election, polls show most voters want the 4,200 German troops in Afghanistan as part of a six-year-old NATO mission to return home.”

“Geman Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD) who share power with Merkel’s conservatives, said once it became clear who would lead Afghanistan after last Thursday’s election there, talks should begin over how long foreign troops should stay.”

And he didn’t say it with any desperation in his voice either, honest.

“We need to agree with the new Afghan president…how long international troops should remain in Afghanistan.”