It’s all about finding a happy medium

5 Jul

They are two interesting and special personalities: The first Afro-American president and the first female chancellor. The most powerful man in the world and the most powerful woman in the world (at least recently).

The world is watching them, everything they do and say is high-profile. A pressure we cannot imagine lies on them. Every step has to be planned. They have to make decisions that concern a whole country.

How would you feel and present yourself if you were in this position?

Obama is the liberal, open-minded and entertaining president. Merkel is the conservative, stiff and inscrutable chancellor. Nevertheless, there is private information that is not spread all over the world. When you take a closer look, you can note that Obama was presenting himself very openly and charming during the elections 2008 to canvass voters. He could impress and convince the Americans by this special sort of election campaigning. We think that the American mentality is different from the German mentality. It is said that German voters prefer a serious election campaigning that is foucssing on the political issues. Obama was an example for Merkel because he showed her how to encourage the youth to vote. She learned from him how to present herself and tried to overcome the distance between her and the younger generation.

Of course, Obama and Merkel did not drop their pants. Obama revealed more information about his private life during the election in 2008. But when he became president he began to be more restrained. Merkel has been critized for being too distant and not really exposing which ideas she stands for. She also has been more present during the election campaigning, but all in all she doesn’t reveal a lot about herself.

Nevertheless, we should not forget that the media also plays an important role in characterizing the politicians. We are under the impression that the American press is more interested in the privacy of the politicians than the German press. It seems to us that the American population is more involved in the election campaigning and also more active, for example they donate money for their candidate. Therefore, the Americans might want to know a lot more about their candidates than the Germans.

We think that politicians should reveal some information about their private life because the voters can get to know them better. Moreover it is  an endeavor of the press to inform the population about important facts to which private issues sometimes belong, too. To sum up, the focus of the press and the candidates should nevertheless be on the political issues.

Obama and Merkel – friends or enemies?

4 Jul

Yesterday, Ina told us a lot about the reltionship between Obama and Merkel. Today, I want to show you how they work together these days. Actually, their relationship does not seem to be the warmest and kindliest. The German media presents their relation as difficult – it is said that they might be heading towards a crisis.

A lot of German newspapers describe the relationship between Obama and Merkel as more cold than warm and affectionate. Their political persuasions seem to be too different to make friends out of Obama and Merkel. There are various political topics where they have completely opposite opinions. For example, the depression and how it should be handled.

Friends or Enemies?

When I look at the headings of the latest online newspaper articles, it is clear to me, that Obama and Merkel have continuing differences. More than once, it is stated that they are heading towards a crisis. In front of the public they are insisting on a good cooperation – of course. But it cannnot be ignored that they are also disputing via newspapers and even via telephone.

What they definetely have in common: They are more popular in foreign countries than in their own state. In my opinion, this is an interesting fact. Maybe Angela Merkel’s online campaign for the elections 2009 was not that successful as she wanted it to. Germans seem to like appealing and charming politicians, but if someone tries to imitate another success, as Merkel maybe did, it might not always be a good idea. Merkel is not the typical person to open up to the public and behave charming and appealing. Probably, the Germans are aware of that and do not believe in her being a character as Obama is.

All in all, it seems to be a difficult endeavor for Merkel and Obama to ameliorate their political relationship because their opinions of how a president or chancellor should act are very different. I hope that they will manage to talk about their differences and keep the relations between Germany and the US cordially to guarantee a safe world policy.

Congratulations (in front of the camera!)

3 Jul

Now, I am going to consider the election of Merkel and Obama in 2008 and 2009 from another perspective, namely how Merkel commented on Obama’s election victory and vice versa. I think for a comparison between Merkel and Obama and the question “if Angie learned from Obama” it is also important to know what the concerned politicians say about each other and also of course what they say to each other. But we have to keep in mind that what you say about a person does not always have to be what you think about him or her! Most notably not in public life!


Did you know that Obama have already known  during the campaign that Angela Merkel would win the election in 2009? At least he said so – to Angela Merkel in June 2009 when she has been on a visit in the USA.

“Ah, you’ve already won. I don’t know what you always worry about”

This short sentence has been recorded by ZDF accidentely when Obama and Merkel were passing by the camera. If you listen closely, you can hear it in this short youtube video.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Merkels opponent and his party, the SPD, have been very annoyed by this “prophetic” statement of Obama and Steinmeier even cancelled a planned trip to Washington after this incident.

A nice stroke of Obama towards Merkel, not that nice towards Steinmeier. But did that also mean that he really wanted her to win? I think that’s another question. And I am sure he would have never said it if he had known a camera had been recording them.

After all and needless to say, he congratulated Merkel officially for her election victory. To my mind in a very standard way how you can see here:

So now it is a bit surprising that Merkel had not shown similar reactions before Obama has won the America election in 2008. In an article I have read that  Merkel had shown obvious sympathy for Hillary Clinton ahead of the election campaigning. Furthermore, during the campaign, she did not allow Obama a campaign appereance in Germany in front of the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin. It is asserted that she said that it would be “overweening” to “run” the American election campaign in front of the symbol of the German division.

But of course Merkel also congratulated Obama, actually on the homepage of the Federal Government. On Obamas first visit in Germany in his term in office, the german BILD describes that Merkel and also Obama seem to make every effort to show that they are on good terms with each other. “Is Merkel now also a Obama-Fan?”, asks BILD.

Another article says that Merkel seems to be

” impressed, but not faszinated”.

Maybe this precisely describes  her attitude. We  already know that Obama is more the open and entertaining person while Merkel is the more serious and rigid person – liberal and conservative, which words could describe them better. But nevertheless, they seem to know how to arrange on their roles and their relationship, at least in public. To my mind this is the most important point. One can’t expect all politicians that have to work and decide together to be best friends, maybe this would even be less productive and successfull.

Expose your private life and become popular?!

2 Jul

After we’ve been talking so much about Barack Obama and Angela Merkel, I want to introduce to you the best example in the American history for someone dropping his pants – in this case involuntarily. It is actually Bill Clinton, who has been acused because of his false testimony concerning his relationship to his secretary Monica Lewinsky.

In 1998, the affair was brought into public through the website Drugde Report. The Washington Post reported on this topic first. Clinton is famous for his comment on the accusations:

Even I can remember that there has been a really big scandal in the United States because that affair, although I was just about nine years old. The “Lewinsky scandal”, sometimes referred to as “Monicagate” or “Sexgate”, has forced Bill Clinton and his family to reveal private information about their lifes, to expose their feelings and private relationships.

After Clinton had testifyed, he gave a speech on television for the American people:

The independent counsel investigation moved on to my staff and friends, then into my private life. And now the investigation itself is under investigation.

This has gone on too long, cost too much and hurt too many innocent people.

Now, this matter is between me, the two people I love most — my wife and our daughter — and our God. I must put it right, and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to do so.

Nothing is more important to me personally. But it is private, and I intend to reclaim my family life for my family. It’s nobody’s business but ours.

Pres. Clinton Even presidents have private lives. It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life.

I think, he sums up very well how he feels about being questioned about his private life and how it feels to be completely denounced. He was forced to reveal this information because he made a big mistake during his presidency. His false testimony probably made the scandal much bigger than it might have been.

Of course, Hillary Clinton was also involved in this scandal because she is married to Bill Clinton. When I look at her website today, as she is now the Secretary of State, I don’t find any hints at this scandal anymore. She managed to become the role model for a lot of girls and women and inspire them. In Beijing in 1995, she said that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights”, a very famous speech.

Do you recognize her?

In my opinion, she has become a strong woman, she has managed not to be judged by her private life, but by what she has achieved as a politician.

But nevertheless, we can learn how embarrassing and difficult it can be for a president to only reveal the information he wants to share with the public. I think, Bill Clinton is right when he claims a private life and when he states that even a president has a private life. Maybe we forget about this sometimes. We should remember that people in public are also human beings.

Miss Europe – please drop your pants!

1 Jul

I am going to follow Sandra’s lead – I will go through the blogosphere finding out what the bloggers say about Angela Merkel. On the one hand, it is of course the media, especially newspapers and TV, that gives us in a way a “prepackaged” image about the politicians. But on the other hand, we can read blogs where it is just the people who can state what they think and by that sometimes we are animated to see the things from different aspects. Why do Merkel’s adherents like her and what do their opponents dislike. Additionally, one can fnd out what people from foreign countries think, which is very interesting and might give new thinkings as well.

It was very interesting to see about how many different topics bloggers advice their opinions concerning Angela Merkel. I have found different articles about some mysterious things about her past, her actual way of shaping policy and the process of her “career” as chancellor.

In a blog from the Readers Edition there is an article that deals with one period of Merkels past. I states that Merkel once has been an official of the “Free German Youth” (in german: FDJ) concerning propanganda and agitation. The FDJ has been a socialistic youth organisation in the former German Democratic Republic. It is criticized that thereby she has supported a system that was braking with human rights. She didn’t breake with the rules of the GDR and stayed true to its principles. Not the best basis for being a chancellor and by that leader of a democratic state. The blogger named her a chameleon which adapts its environment.

In two other blogposts it is even stated that she has been a member of the state security service of the GDR, the Stasi and her code name has been IM Erika. It sounds like a complot, who knows if it’s true or not. I just know that I have never heard about that. And the blogger says:

“it won’t be a subject of discussion in Germany, when the citizens don’t approach it by themselves!”

Let’s stop with the mystery about Merkel. I will dwell on some blogs that deal with the actual problem of the financial crisis which is a vivid discussed topic in the blogosphere. “Merkel goes from Glorys to Disgrace” is an article that compares Merkel’s political manner after her election 2005 over her title of the most powerful woman of the recent years to her actual reputation: “disliked at home and increasingly isolated and even reviled abroad”. Very hard words. She is critized for “being too focused on German national interests”. So is she really disliked “at home”? In a german polticial blog, the Sprengsatz, the blogger talks in his article “The Greek in us” about the exaggerated boast of the Germans and describes the german politicains and parties as desolate. He doesn’t attack Angela Merkel but the whole political manner in Germany. In another german blog Merkel is called “Miss Europe”, a strong personality who is devoid of clarity and decision.

Again, Merkels “Pokerface” and “Pokermanner”is the focus of the peoples’ views. After her election she has made an impression on the world and she has been expected to keep it. But in hard times like now it’s also hard times for Angela Merkel. The people want her to do more: to state more openness and clarification. Angela Merkel doesn’t drop her pants at all – we have to pull them off!

Did Obama drop his pants?

30 Jun

What does the blogger community think of Obama? I am trying to find that out today. The blogger community has actually a bigger influence than we might think. They interact, communicate and link to each other. Via internet, there can be organized meetings, demonstrations or other actions. Maybe the bloggers mirror the real opinion of the whole country. Moreover, I will try to find a first answer to the question whether Obama’s private life is still important in the discussion about him.

Hope ...

or fail?!

We have already learned a lot about how the media presents Obama and how he presents himself. Now, I want to know what the people themselves think of him. Of course I cannot look through every blog out there in the internet, but I want to focus on a few.

On a more conservative blog, I found the opinion of someone wanting Obama to resign:

Should we start calling for President Obama to resign for the good of the county?

Obviously, there are American people who are not satisfied with what their president is doing. Probably, the conservatives weren’t very lucky about the elections anyway. But nevertheless, in my opinion, it is very striking, that people publish their opinion so openly.

Furthermore, I read a bit on a website that is called Redstate – Conservative News Source for Right of Center Activists. As the title already says, very conservative blogger meet here. Someone even labels Obama as a marxist. Moreover, he is called incompetent.

Liberal bloggers are of course more enthuisaistic about Obama being their president.

I stand with my President and have the faith that he has the people best interest

In general, it seems to me, that the liberal bloggers are not that rigorously and restricted in their view of politics. The conservative bloggers are bolder and tend to generalize.

To compare all these impressions of Obama – the way he presents himself, the way he is presented by the media and the blogger community: These different opinions put a new complexion on him. Of course, there are a lot of people who support him, but there are also voices that are more critical. I think the German media in particular presented Obama more positive during the elections.

Now, there is still the question whether his privat life is really relevant in the discussion about him. At this point, I would say that his willingness to reveal private information helped him to create a likeable and attracting image of him. But when it comes to his policy and the way he acts as a president, his private life does not help him anymore. I am convinced that only his political actions count when it comes to judge him as a president. Maybe he did not really drop his pants when it comes to revealing his private life – but nevertheless, he has to drop pants when it comes to his political responsibility and justification.

Pokerface Merkel…

30 Jun

Did you know that Angela Merkel has been considered as the most powerful woman of the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009?! There are some news about the German chancellor which are a bit astonoshing at first. I am going to revise how Angela Merkel is presented by the media and what people think about her manner.

First of all, it is very interesting to know that Angela Merkel is a person who really should know how to interact with the media. In 1990 she has been the press relations officer of the party “Democratic Departure”. This party constituted in 1989 and has been an oppositional party in East Germany. Even if this has been at about 15 years ago when Merkel became chancellor in 2005, one can’t deny her experiences from this time on concerning the media. Maybe among other things, this could be a reason why the German newspaper Die Zeit suggests that Merkel is very decent in her own presentation in the media. She has been very reluctant during the election campaign in 2009 and “let the others work and dispute” while she has been containing herself when it has been about the most important questions like the raise of the taxes.

In an article of the German magazine Der Spiegel there has been an articel about the “covert media chancellor” – she seems to control her presentation on the media very strictly.

In an other article it is affirmed that the chancellor belongs to the most contradictorily presented female politicians. Even if there are various portraits of her person,

“nobody knows who Angela Merkel is and which political ideas she really stands for.”

But maybe this “strategy” could not be detected  in America – The Washington Post mentioned her as “an example of leadership”. During her speech in front of the US- Congress in November 2009 Merkel has been interrupted at about 20 times by the applaus of the deputies and has been lauded for herperformance. She thanked the USA for the partnership between Germany and the US.

To sum up, in Germany Merkel of course has her adherents, without them she would not have been reelected in 2009. But in spite of that there are some doubts about her appearance: she seems to be chary in her media presence and gives a more serious than casual impression. She is accused of hiding behind inexplicit argumentation. Maybe this can be related to her formerly profession as a press relation officer. She knows how to present in media. Nevertehless our first female chancellor and the most powerful woman of the recent years can be sure about a high esteem in foreign countries especially in the US.