Rule by Grown-Ups

Franz Muentefering, the head of the German Social Democratic Party, decides to step down to spend more time with his ill wife.  A blow for the Social Democrats, since "Muente" was probably the most colorful politician in Germany.  During the media frenzy about the affair, the Vice-President of the German Parliament, fellow Social Democratic Wolfgang Thierse, defends (G) Muentefering’s decision by saying "To leave his wife sitting alone in the dark in Ludwigshafen, like [former Chancellor] Helmut Kohl did, is hardly ideal." 

This was a reference to the late Hannelore Kohl, wife of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.  She suffered from a severe light allergy, and took her own life in 2001.  Thierse was immediately criticized from all sides, including his own party, for referring to the private life of a fellow public figure.  He realized his error, and sent a letter to Chancellor Kohl apologizing for the remark.  Kohl says Thierse "apologized to me with good form.  I accept the apology.  As to other aspects of the matter, I will say nothing."

Class displayed.  Case closed.  Back to things that matter.

4 thoughts on “Rule by Grown-Ups

  1. Thierse didn’t apologise. He denied the accusation and apologised for the wrong impression his remarks may have caused: “Weil ich den Vorwurf nicht erhoben habe, will ich nachdrücklich um Entschuldigung bitten, wenn bei Helmut Kohl dieser Eindruck entstanden ist.” [1] … imo that’s the kind of disgusting weaselese, that has become common among politicians all over the world – anything but noble.

    Kohl is the guy who defied the law, when he did not name the donors in the 1999 CDU contributions scandal, setting his “Ehrenwort”, (the word of honour he gave to the donors, assuring them anonymity) pompously above the requests by the prosecutor’s office, the parliament and his party. Kohl had to resign as a consequence.

    Thierse was one of the main actors in the parliamentary investigations – as a consequence Kohl’s relation to Thierse was one of intimate hatred, leading to his infamous claim that Thierse had been the “worst President of the Bundestag since Hermann Göring”. The Süddeutsche relates the history of continuous reciprocal vilification, the protagonists displaying anything but class.

    Kohl decided to act classy for a change, for reasons I can’t fathom – anyway, good for him.

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  2. @MoehlingAndrew still won’t appreciate your interference in his effort to paint Germany as a rosy country of mature people to his esteemed readers abroad who are currently grappling with varying accusations of politicians’ gayness etc.So let’s just be nice and give it another try, shall we: Kohl didn’t resign, he ended his term on a regular basis when he got out-voted by a narrow margin by some other guy, on issues totally unrelated to whatever words of honor. To the majority of the populace Kohl was the guy who provided them with prosperity by keeping the working class in check, getting Coke to the Ossis and just generally keeping uncomfortable change from happening, just as they expected it from a pampered kid that grew up in a picturesque village watching the daisies grow. That he committed crimes on a high level is irrelevant and the prosecutor’s office demonstrated that they were well in touch with the relevant fraction of the populace by letting the thing slide.See, that’s grown-ups at work.

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  3. > Kohl didn’t resign

    True. I don’t know what I was thinking, maybe I confused his resignation from CDU leadership as consequence of the lost elections. Yet I think that my point stands: both Kohl and Thierse are classy only once in a while. Anyway, I stand corrected by Martin, who issued one of his first posts that even was worth reading. Eat Moppelkotze, James W.

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  4. > maybe I confused his resignation from CDU leadership as consequence of the lost elections

    Confused with what, you ask? Good question. Maybe I was just confused. Time to shut down the computer and waddle over to the pub, I guess.

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