For those who haven’t heard, the outcome was that Social Democrat (center left) Prime Minister Helmut Schröder didn’t lose, but Christian Democrat (center right) challenger Angela Merkel didn’t win, either. Neither party has a majority, even with the likeliest coalition partners. So it’s a race to see who can get the fringe parties to agree to a coalition, then a race to see who can leave the coalition first and trigger new elections. The German government, in other words, will be paralyzed for the time being.
[Those who decry the American electoral system that yields a decisive result every time, even if it takes the Supreme Court to decide it once every 100 years, should compare the parliamentary alternative, with its sloppy coalitions and votes of no confidence.]
First the humor. The essential James Taranto wins the prize for his response to the Agence France Presse headline, “Schroeder, Merkel in German Vote Climax”: Rauchen sie danach?*
But it is Global Content Provider Mark Steyn who really nails this one. Some quotes:
Germany is dying, demographically and economically. Pick any of the usual indicators of a healthy advanced industrial democracy: Unemployment? The highest for 70 years. House prices? Down. New car registration? Nearly 15 per cent lower than in 1999. General nuttiness? A third of Germans under 30 think the United States government was responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11.
Old obdurate Leftists can argue about which system is "better", but at a certain point it becomes irrelevant: by 2050, there will be more and wealthier Americans, and fewer and poorer Europeans. In the 14th century, it took the Black Death to wipe out a third of Europe's population. In the course of the 21st century, Germany's population will fall by over 50 per cent to some 38 million or lower - killed not by disease or war but by the Eutopia to which Mr Schröder and his electorate are wedded.
But follow the link and read the whole article. Then you’ll know that Steyn’s columns are Canada’s highest quality export.
*Translation to be posted tomorrow in the comments section. In the meantime, try to figure it out.