Gerhard Schroeder is pulling an ‘Al Gore’, or a ‘John Kerry’; they both work in this case. Exit polls say he’s out, but he’s refusing to concede defeat to Angela Merkel.
Exit polls showed conservative challenger Angela Merkel’s party leading in German parliamentary elections Sunday but falling short of the majority she needed to form a center-right coalition as the nation’s first female chancellor.
Gerhard Schroeder, written off as a lame duck a few weeks ago, finished stronger than expected and refused to concede defeat, saying he could still theoretically remain in power if talks with other parties were successful.
No one “theoretically” remains in power.
Let’s face it, losing stinks. No one wants to be the loser. Moreover, it’s hard to be a gracious loser. You’ve got to stand up in front of supporters who perhaps hate your opponent more than you do. Still, you smile, and in the case of Gerhard, you clasp your hands and raise them above your head in a victory pose. Problem is, the look on your face says it all. You’ve lost.
They know it. Angela knows it. Your party knows it.
You can take a bit of solace in the fact that Angela won’t have quite the power she had hoped to have.
Had Merkel reached a majority with the Free Democrats, they would have formed a center-right government to push through her proposals to get the economy going and cut unemployment by making it easier for small firms to fire people, cutting payroll taxes and giving companies more flexibility to opt out of one-size-fits-all regional wage agreements.
If she does become chancellor, she likely will have to water down her program as she partners with a party to her left in order to hold 50 percent of the seats in parliament. Merkel’s party already controls the upper house of parliament.
Analyst suggest that a ‘grand coalition’ between Angela’s party and Schroeder’s party could be formed. But we all know that is wishful thinking. Partisanship is partisanship – here or across the Atlantic in Germany. Every time a decision has to be made a fight will break out.
Not good for either party, and more importantly, not good for the German people. You’ve had control of the ball for awhile Gerhard. Now it’s time to hand it to Angela.