A better way in Germany?

Published December 2, 2013

By D. G. Martin

by D. G. Martin, One on One, December 2, 2013.

Should we look to Germany for a better way to organize our government?

Our parents and grandparents from the “Greatest Generation” would be shocked at the idea that the country they fought so hard to defeat would have the kind of representative and effective government that any American would want to copy.

But let’s look at what has happened in the aftermath of the recent national elections in both countries.

In our country, the two major political parties battled it out, electing a president from the Democratic Party and a divided legislative body.

While the Electoral College results gave Democrat Barak Obama a decisive (332-206) victory, the reported popular vote was much closer: 65,915,796 to 60,933,500, or 51.1 percent to 47.2 percent.

The House of Representatives’ total popular vote, although much closer, also favored the Democrats by 59,967,096 votes to 58,523,501votes for Republican candidates, or 48.9 percent to 47.7 percent. Nevertheless, the Republicans won a decisive victory in the number of seats, 234 to 201 for Democrats.

The closeness of the U.S. popular vote last year showed Americans closely divided on which political party they would choose to lead their government. But it would be hard to argue that they intended their votes to lead to the confrontational governmental logjam that resulted from their vote.

Americans are rightfully proud of the complicated system of checks and balances the drafters of our Constitution designed.

But when those checks and balances combine with hard-line partisanship of both political parties to cripple the government’s ability to function effectively, we might swallow our pride and look for ideas about how to make our system work better.

Like our 2012 elections, Germany’s 2013 elections were hard-fought. The results, however, were more decisive. In the multiparty election, Angela Merkel’s moderate conservative Christian Democratic/Christian Social combined parties won 41.5 percent of the popular vote compared with 25.7 percent won by the major competitor, the Social Democrats.

The press characterized the results as a landside victory for Merkel’s party, but with only 311 seats, she was five seats short of a majority in the German parliament.

The center-left Social Democrats won only 193 seats. But if they had been willing to combine with the Green Party, which won 63 seats, and the far left party known as The Left, which won 64 seats, it could have put together a working majority and lead the German government.

Instead of trying to lead a hard-left government, the Social Democrats have tentatively opted to join a “grand coalition” led by Merkel. Her conservative party has moved toward the center, and its more moderate position gave it greater voter appeal across the German electorate.

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats have also moved toward the middle, away from the hard-left parties. Their labor union and other liberal supporters may be skeptical of the partnership with Merkel. But they have already gained from their conservative partners a commitment for a minimum wage of $11.50 (8.50 euros) an hour and a lower social security retirement age for some workers. Merkel’s plans to invest in education, infrastructure projects, and non-nuclear energy would have been viewed as concessions to the Social Democrats had Merkel not already made them a part of her party’s platform.

Assuming the Social Democrats give final approval, Germany is in line for several years of moderately conservative government, one that is stable and able to function decisively when necessary, under a coalition that represents more than two-thirds of the German voters.

That is something even the most patriotic American could envy.


December 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm
Norm Kelly says:

In America, the left wing of the DemocRAT party is moving further and firmer to the left. These people are less open to the 'big tent'. It seems that darn few, if any, in the American media notice this, cover this, are concerned about this. It MAY BE true that some in the Republican party are moving further to the right. Not only is this noticed by the American press, it is denounced by the American press. Since the American press believes anything on the 'right' is bad, they claim this means the tent is shrinking on the Republican side. The American press claims, without evidence, that moving further to the right means the Republican party is also a racist party. So not only are DemocRATs moving to the left, considerably farther to the left, but Republicans are moving to the right but some of them are staying in the middle - like McCain. Mitt Romney was too much in the center, so was not acceptable to enough Republican voters to get elected. Note that the Republicans who are moving to the right are actually trying to get Washington back in step with the Constitution of the United States. How can anyone be opposed to our Constitution? I don't know either, but it seems that Prince Harry, Heir Obama, and K Hagan sure are.

As DemocRATs move to the left, they try to force more socialism down our throats, pass legislation along party lines, legislate against the will of the majority of Americans, choose which laws to uphold or not, change rules in the Senate to make their job easier, and claim the whole time they do this garbage that extreme right wing racist bigots are preventing them from doing what's best for the American people. And the American press, by and large, goes along with them.

How exactly does one compromise with someone who wishes to ignore the Constitution? How exactly does someone negotiate with one who refuses to recognize that you also come to the table with a plan? How do you compromise or negotiate with someone who lies to the American people about you, and that lie is normally carried without question or comment or editing by the lefties in the media?

Perhaps it's good that Merkel is working WITH the more socialist parties in Germany. But chances are working with the lefties in Germany will prove as destructive to their economy as would allowing more of the leftie agenda to be implemented here in America. Socialism is death to any economy. Socialism can NOT survive. Tiny little bits of socialism tend to disrupt other parts of the economy, 'forcing' the lefties in government to take additional steps to boost the economy. Sounds like a circle, doesn't it?