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Aside from Iraq, the crucial differences between the major candidates are stylistic, not substantive. Schroeder is witty and energetic. He is deeply tanned. He is on his fourth wife. By contrast, Stoiber is grandfatherly — a politician that makes Al Gore look lively. Coming from the southern state of Bavaria, he draws sneers from urbane northerners who like to think of him as a country hillbilly.
Hillbilly or not, Bavaria is Stoiber’s ace. As premier, he transformed Bavaria into Germany’s hottest hi-tech zone, with the second lowest unemployment numbers in Germany. Whether his formula of “laptops and Lederhosen” — technological subsidies tempered by cultural conservatism — will work throughout Germany remains to be seen. Lederhosen in the Catholic south is one thing. How that garb will contend with topless lesbians up north is another matter.
If anything, a Stoiber victory may demonstrate two things. One, Germany isn’t quite ready for an American-style campaign — Schroeder’s personality politics. Two, the electorate cares more about its own chancellor’s handling of the unemployment crisis than about Bush’s handling of Iraq.
A Schroeder victory would be much more ominous. It would show that the German people remain susceptible to having their concern about the economy distracted, and having their attention directed to another problem, one that is unrelated and in many ways symbolic. This seems all too familiar.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?