Germany veers right - socialists 'slaughtered'

This may be a harbinger of things to come or, just as likely, a purely German reaction to the failed programs of the social democrats. But Chancellor Angela Merkel's return to power has come with a price. Her center right Christian Democrats saw their majority shrink but in a big surprise, the pro-business Free Democratic Party increased their share of deputies in the Bundestag and Merkel will be forced to make concessions to the FDP if she wants them in her governing coalition.

As America veers hard left, Germany and the rest of Europe appears ready to lurch rightward; and how ironic is that?

It should be noted that Germany - and Europe's "right" is hardly conservatism as we know it in the US. But perhaps most significant in these German election results was the "slaughter" of the social democrats and their leftist allies.

Claus Christian Malzahn writing in Spiegel Online:

Nevertheless, the big loser of Sunday's election is still undoubtedly the center-left Social Democrats. Their result is below even the historic low that the party suffered in 1953 and which took it years to recover from. After 11 years in government, the party, whose status as one of Germany's two main parties seems to be in question since Sunday's election, is going into the opposition. The party is only 10 percentage points ahead of its upstart far-left rival, the Left Party. The Left Party is the result of a merger between the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) -- the successor to the communist party that ruled East Germany -- and WASG, a group of trade unionists and disgruntled former SPD members based in western Germany, and has managed to significantly eat into the SPD's share of the vote since it was founded in 2007.

The mood that is now gripping the SPD could easily be described as panic. Already on Sunday, Frank-Walter Steinmeier staked his claim to be the party's floor leader in parliament. By doing so, he wants to send out a message of continuity during this hour of worst possible defeat. But the developments on Sunday night look less like continuity than a break with the past. Germans are experiencing the end of an SPD as they have known it since the 1960s.

Right of center parties are also gaining ground in most of the rest of Europe and have been for more than a year. Perhaps more than "conservative," these parties are seen as "pro-business" and in severe economic downturns, it makes sense to elect people who will promote policies to help companies start hiring again and get the economy moving.

Might this be a recipe for success in 2010 for Republicans? Time will tell whether the GOP can get its act together in order to come up with a coherent message that will convince the American people that Republicans have the ideas that will get us out of this mess created by too much spending, too much taxing, too much government interference in the economy, and too much Obama.

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