Friday, December 05, 2008

Angela Merkel: "Germany's Herbert Hoover"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

If you're interested in German politics, as I am, check out this post by Clay Risen at TNR's The Plank. It seems that Chancellor Merkel has responded to the economic crisis rather poorly, and her poll numbers are collapsing as a result:

What a difference three months can make. Of all Europe's leaders, no one has suffered from the economic crisis quite as much as Merkel, because no one has mishandled the crisis quite as badly as Merkel. Germany is facing its biggest economic challenge since World War II -- the Bundesbank is predicting GDP to shrink by at least, 0.8 percent in 2009; many think that's overly optimistic -- and economists, politicians, media and the public across the spectrum are calling for tax cuts and stimulus spending of the sort being rolled out in France and other EU states.

"Instead of working with Sarkozy and others on an EU-wide economic response," she's pulling a Jimmy Carter and pushing "personal belt-tightening," hardly a popular position to take. Also, "[o]n a variety of political issues, where once Germany could be expected to assert a multilateral leadership role, she has chosen a meandering unilateral path instead: Allowing vast exceptions for German industry on climate regulations, refusing to take a strong stand against Russia, and dragging her feet on Iranian sanctions."

It's never a good sign to be compared to Herbert Hoover, but "the hapless Social Democrats," her chief rivals, have yet to take advantage of the situation." However, unless she changes her ways, she may very well end up suffering Hoover's political fate.

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