Gerhard Schröder is finally gone for good, and stayed true to form in his farewell:
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who has led Germany since 1998, said for the first time on Wednesday he would not play a role in the next government, in an emotional farewell including broadsides at the United States and Britain.
I will not be a part of the next government — definitely not be part of it,” a tearful looking Schroeder told a rapt audience of union members in his home city of Hanover.
He quickly composed himself, hitting his stride in a passionate defense of a strong German state and lashing out at “Anglo-Saxon” economic policies favoured in Britain and the United States, which he said had “no chance” in Europe.
In an apparent reference to Hurricane Katrina, Schroeder castigated Washington for liberal, hands-off policies that left it exposed in times of crisis…
“I do not want to name any catastrophes where you can see what happens if organised state action is absent. I could name countries, but the position I still hold forbids it, but everyone knows I mean America,” he said to loud applause.
It took him some weeks, but he finally has realized that getting fewer votes than another party means that you have effectively lost the elections. I already had posted about his strange behavior on election night here. It is worth to look at in more detail, for it is, according to people who have know him intimately, not quite so strange for him after all, and indeed symptomatic for his whole personality:
BERLIN – A belligerent performance by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in a TV talk show after German elections, which his party narrowly lost, has drawn widespread criticism and fuelled alarm the country could be lurching into a political crisis.
A grinning Schroeder first accused the TV moderators of having “an intellectual problem” and not being objective in their reporting and questioning.
Turning to a grim-looking Merkel he said: “Do you seriously think my party will accept this offer for talks with Frau Merkel? … Under her leadership she will never get a coalition with my party.”
Most newspapers said Schroeder had “run riot” during the half-hour TV show dubbed “the elephant round”. The Berliner Zeitung, which generally backs the Chancellor, called it “a bizarre appearance”.
Arnulf Baring, a leading German political historian, termed the Chancellor’s performance “shocking”.
“He spoke on election night as if he was on the verge of carrying out a putsch,” said Baring in a B.Z. newspaper interview, adding: “The way he is treating democracy and majority rule is truly threatening.”
The paper [The Berliner Kurier RG] quoted members of Schroeder’s own SPD following the interview on giant TV screens at party headquarters in Berlin saying: “He’s drunk.”
But the paper insisted this was not the case. “No, the Chancellor was not drunk – he was intoxicated with victory.”
And there’s also this from Der Spiegel:
Although many see his rude behavior on television as a slip-up, the reality is that it showed a side of Schröder with which journalists, but not the public, are all too familiar. He behaves the lout, the hooligan more often than one might think. Indeed, he is only too quick to dispense insults. During the SPD convention in Bochum in 2003, for example, his way of dealing with obstinate fellow party members was to hiss: “I’ll destroy you.”
In the seven years of the Schröder/Fischer era, the language and rules of the street often prevailed behind the facades of power. What was important to them was what Spaniards call cojones, those body parts that play such an important role in determining a man’s virility. Only those equipped with the bigger cojones are taken seriously, are allowed to have a say, can avoid being ridiculed. And, conversely, someone who is audacious enough to challenge reality is of course the most virile of them all. Schröder also has his own saying: “Only the toughest can play the game.”
It turns out that Schröder, who can dish it out like a prize fighter, has a chin made of glass.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.