December 4, 2014

"The Chancellor thinks Putin believes that we’re decadent, we’re gay, we have women with beards..."

"That it’s a strong Russia of real men versus the decadent West that’s too pampered, too spoiled, to stand up for their beliefs if it costs them one per cent of their standard of living. That’s his wager. We have to prove it’s not true."

Said an unnamed German official quoted in the New Yorker article "The Quiet German/The astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world."

As for what Merkel thinks of American Presidents:
“She does not really think Obama is a helpful partner,” Torsten Krauel, a senior writer for Die Welt, said. “She thinks he is a professor, a loner, unable to build coalitions.” Merkel’s relationship with Bush was much warmer than hers with Obama, the longtime political associate said. A demonstrative man like Bush sparks a response, whereas Obama and Merkel are like “two hit men in the same room. They don’t have to talk—both are quiet, both are killers.”
A demonstrative man like Bush sparks a response... Hmm... time to reexamine the old video:



She's smiling in the end, something you can really see in the longer video here, at Kos, where the assertion is that the gesture is "most unwelcome." How do we know?! I mean, I know you're not supposed to touch people unless you know it is welcome, but that doesn't mean we know it's not welcome.

50 comments:

Henry said...

A demonstrative man like Bush sparks a response, whereas Obama and Merkel are like “two hit men in the same room. They don’t have to talk—both are quiet, both are killers.

For some reason this passage brought James Bond to mind.

W is Roger Moore.

Obama is Timothy Dalton.

That leaves the really good Bonds for the really good presidents.

Ann Althouse said...

@Henry Reread the quote. The 2 hit men image isn't Bush and Obama. It's Obama and Merkel.

traditionalguy said...

Germans and Russians are rivals yesterday, today and forever. Bush at least was not afraid to clown around with them like a cowboy should.

Shanna said...

Obama and Merkel are like “two hit men in the same room. They don’t have to talk—both are quiet, both are killers.”

Interesting take. I could see Obama as a hit man, potentially. He has shark eyes.

BDNYC said...

On today's college campus, what Bush did to Angela could be characterized as nonconsensual sexual touching or inappropriate contact. Poor Angela must have felt terribly used and objectified by Bush, that powerful man. The Big Man on Campus.

The video is powerful evidence of his offense.

kcom said...

And Hillary is Moneypenny.

Jane the Actuary said...

I'm definitely in the Angela Merkel Fan Club.

(Remember back when you were a kid and you could actually be a member of an "offical" fan club with such benefits as a miniposter and a couple stickers? Does that still exist?)

How long before she stops being labelled as merely the most powerful "woman"?

But it's way better than the nonsense about TMPW being Hilary or Oprah or the like.

kcom said...

"Henry Reread the quote"

I think you misread Henry. He was just comparing presidential personalities. Most people thought Timothy Dalton was a sucky Bond. Roger Moore was well-liked by many for his outgoing portrayal. See the analogy now?

Michael K said...

"How long before she stops being labelled as merely the most powerful "woman"?"

I think Margaret Thatcher took care of that. Unfortunately, the kids today have no knowledge ofThatcher because History is bunk today.

Shanna said...

I'm definitely in the Angela Merkel Fan Club.

She's an interesting character herself, although she's German, so you have to keep an eye out. Funny though, that this video is labeled as if she hates Bush and was mad at him for doing that, when now she's talking about how much she preferred working with him.

Actually, you could make a fantastic movie/book about these people right now, using a little artistic license. Why has nobody done that? As much as hollywood loves to make our government the bad guys, here is your chance! Ha.

BDNYC said...

How long before she stops being labelled as merely the most powerful "woman"?

Wait. Did she somehow get elected POTUS? Is Obama gone?

SteveR said...

Obama sits there wishing he could smoke a cigarette. He's not a killer. Quite the opposite. Killing takes work and a decision.

Henry said...

@Althouse -- True. My thought process triggered off the phrase "Bush sparks a response." This reminded me of the multitude of Bond scenes where Bond is supposed to quietly gather information and instead, quite intentionally, triggers some kind of chaotic mess.

Shanna said...

Killing takes work and a decision.

Yeah, but like, if he didn't have a waffle to eat or a cigarette to smoke or golfing...

William said...

I read that article. It was very long and, at the end, I didn't feel that I knew her any better. She has an open, readable face, but she's very discreet in her comments on other politicians and very balanced and low keyed in her policies. I sensed that the writer felt frustrated that there was nothing about her that he could rally behind or demonize her for. I don't think she's truly an enigma, but she doesn't give reporters much to write about......She seems likable and honest and decent, but it's hard for writers to make such qualities interesting.

chillblaine said...

That top row of Merkel photos bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain law prof we all know.

David said...

I've just finish Max Hastings' book on World War II, which devotes much attention to the clashes of the Soviet and German armies. The Russians functioned under conditions of unimaginable hardship. Part of their strategy was to take seemingly unattainable casualties and then bring in more troops to take some more. Hastings concludes that the Russian-Soviet soldiers fought and died under conditions that American and British armies could not have sustained, even if they had the manpower available.

It's hard to disagree with this conclusion. The differences in suffering and death were well appreciated at the time, and are still part of the Russian national consciousness. What Putin expressed is not just a reaction to our current leaders or society. It's part of a embedded cultural belief.

FullMoon said...

Obama the manipulative smooth talker in the gang. Has the big brute "friend" to do the physical stuff.

Like the Godfather and Lucca Brasi, without the Godfathers machismo..

kcom said...

You treat your own people like cannon fodder because your system has no respect for their lives and then want sympathy because of all your people who died. Reminds me of the one about the kid who murders his parents and then pleads for mercy because he's an orphan.

Achilles said...

Shanna said...
Obama and Merkel are like “two hit men in the same room. They don’t have to talk—both are quiet, both are killers.”

"Interesting take. I could see Obama as a hit man, potentially. He has shark eyes."

He can't break 30 in bowling nor can he get a baseball to travel 50 feet. Also I doubt he has been in any situation where someone has died in his vicinity through violence in his life.

And I see more petulance in those eyes than resolve really.

mikee said...

Bush better at diplomacy and foreign policy than Obama?!

Next can we expect an honest recitation of Hillary's depraved indifference to the truth over the years, and why Althouse isn't going to vote for her?

Anonymous said...

Remember, Obama repaired our international relations with a reset button.

Zach said...

When I first arrived in Germany in 2009, Obama was extremely popular. Bush, not.

Personality wise, though, Bush is a much better match for the German personality than Obama. Bush is a bit of a backslapper but is relatively guileless. He invested a lot of time and effort in personal relationships with world leaders. Obama is a mixture of public platitudes and private viciousness. And sorry to say, but the US is not a reliable or stalwart ally right now.

Remember, Merkel grew up in a country where one out of six people was a spy for the government. Do you think she's never encountered someone who could "smile and smile, and be a villain"? East Germans are suspicious people. Very nice people once they decide they like you, but very guarded and closed until then. Obama is a really bad match for a personality type like that.

Ctmom4 said...

I think it is hard not to like GW as a person if you meet him. I have seen journalists say this- and you know they are predisposed to dislike him. I also think it is almost impossible to like Obama as a person, once you see through that phony folksiness he wears like a mask. He is contemptuous of others and it shows.

Achilles said...

""The Chancellor thinks Putin believes that we’re decadent, we’re gay, we have women with beards...""

No. That's not it.

He believes Obama is a weakling who hates freedom for his own people and is unwilling to fight for freedom around the world. Also Obama is jealous of the power Putin holds in Russia.

Unsurprisingly Putin is invading his neighbors.

MayBee said...

Is there anyone who really likes Obama?
Even the people who adore him don't seem to like him all that much.

BarrySanders20 said...

“She’s not a woman of strong emotions,” Bernd Ulrich, the deputy editor of Die Zeit, said. “Too much emotion disturbs your reason. She watches politics like a scientist.”

Interesting that this is cited as the reason for her success.

Not emotional, highly rational.

Many peddled Obama this way. But he sucks at his job, and she's great at hers.

She reads people well. He doesn't.

The Drill SGT said...

what zach said.

Merkel may not have liked what Bush was saying/doing, but what you saw is what you got.

Obama, untrustworthy pond scum, in a silk suit.

Barry Dauphin said...

We weren't privy to whatever interactions Bush and Merkel had prior to the massage, so judging it as unwelcome is a leap. It is amusing that that both long and short versions go all Zapruder-Oliver Stone on this encounter.

Jane the Actuary said...

Can I throw in my theory on why the US never got its First Woman President, and is thus behind, when it comes to major economies?

http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-no-woman-president-highly.html

It's speculative, but I think it's because of abortion -- but not in the way Democrats think.

holdfast said...

Americans were willing to take awful casualties when absolutely required - the landings on Iwo Jima, the Battle of Guadalcanal and other fights in the Pacific come to mind. That said, if there's a way to avoid those sorts of casualties, through the application of technology and/or material, then they will take that route - and that's a good thing.

The Brits were bled dry from WW I - the Somme, Ypres, Gallipoli, and so on, and so were VERY casualty averse in WW II - this led to some poor decisions which actually ended up costing more British lives in the end (the failure to close the Falaise Gap comes to mind).

Big Mike said...

This is the gun that Obama-the-hitman uses

Joe Schmoe said...

Well, not everyone is as likable as Hillary!

Even if she steals from Scott Walker.

Dick Stanley said...

W is demonstrative, yes, but he's also pushy. Has been ever since forever. I first observed it when he was governor. He doesn't care what others want as long as he's satisfied.

n.n said...

We are actually not very gay. There is actually an air of despondence. A lack of social and cultural pride associated with progressive dysfunction.

Drago said...

eric: "Remember, Obama repaired our international relations with a reset button"

And they didn't even get that right:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/19719.html

Of course, do a dem like Hillary, "overcharge" is never the "wrong" word.

Drago said...

"That it’s a strong Russia of real men versus the decadent West that’s too pampered, too spoiled, to stand up for their beliefs if it costs them one per cent of their standard of living."

This would not be the first time a foreign power made a judgement call that the US (and now the West in general) was too "decadent" and "soft" to stand up for itself.

With obvious and disastrous results for those that made that strategic miscalculation.

This lesson apparently needs to be relearned about once every 30 years or so.

Drago said...

Clemenza explained this clearly to Michael in The Godfather.

R. Chatt said...

President Obama's remarks at the Business Roundtable concerning Russia and Putin are interesting because they show his perspective on this topic as well as a side of him we don't see in the media @44:48-46:45 link

John said...

"She thinks Obama is a professor."

Really? Merkel has spent enough time in academia that she whould know what a professor is and isn't. President Obama's gig at U Chicago was the same as mine. He was an adjunct. Not an adjunct "professor" just an adjunct instructor or whatever they call them there.

Perhaps she meant to say "professorial" or like a professor. A bit safer ground there but still shaky.

I'm about halfway through the article, it is pretty good.

John Henry

John said...

She was also into nude sunbathing and pretty hot in her younger days.

http://theslnaturist.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/angela-merkel-nude/

Peter would like her.

She woudl stack up pretty well against a young Hilary.

(Yes, it may not be of her. But it might be)

John Henry

Coconuss Network said...

Merkel rocks, and those two seemed to get along swimmingly when Obama was at Brandenburg Gate. As per Bush, he's such a cool cowboy and loyal fan of his wife, who is so pretty. I don't believe it. I think Merkel and Obama have loads to talk about regarding Russia and Putin is not thrilled. Also Germany takes a conservative military stance on IS, and Obama as well. And Germany has become quite friendly with Israel which the Americans appreciate. Something doesn't jive.

averagejoe said...

"what Bush did to Angela could be characterized as nonconsensual sexual touching or inappropriate contact."

At least he didn't vomit all over her like his old man did to the Japanese prime minister.

Ann Althouse said...

"Merkel rocks, and those two seemed to get along swimmingly when Obama was at Brandenburg Gate"

From the New Yorker article:

"Her opinion of Barack Obama has risen as his popularity has declined. In July, 2008, as a Presidential candidate, Obama wanted to speak at the Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin—the historic heart of the city, a location reserved for heads of state and government, not U.S. senators. Merkel rebuffed the request, so instead Obama spoke about European-American unity at the Victory Column, in the Tiergarten, before two hundred thousand delirious fans—a crowd Merkel could never have mustered, let alone mesmerized. “What puts her off about Obama is his high-flying rhetoric,” the senior official said. “She distrusts it, and she’s no good at it. She says, ‘I want to see if he can deliver.’ If you want to sum up her philosophy, it’s ‘under-promise and over-deliver.’ ”"

Ann Althouse said...

In 2013, Merkel did let him speak there. From WaPo:

"This time, Obama will visit Germany not as a celebrity candidate but as a second-term president who has built an important alliance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.... In 2008, a Merkel spokesman said it was "odd" for Obama to deliver a public address there, noting that the chancellor had "little sympathy for the Brandenburg Gate being used for electioneering." Yet, five years and two U.S. presidential campaigns later, Obama is returning to Brandenburg Gate at Merkel's invitation."

chillblaine said...

I liked @Jane The Actuary's linked essay. I, too, considered Merkel's place among female leaders, placing her potentially the equal of Maggie and Golda. Those two, however, rightfully belong in the pantheon of state leadership, regardless of gender.

Julia was too wedded to the carbon tax.

Jane the Actuary said...

thanks, Chillblaine!

jaed said...

That (about the Brandenberg Gate) isn't contradictory. She didn't want the site used as the setting for an election rally, but had no objection to a head of state speaking there. In 2008 it would have been the first and in 2013 it was the second.

2013 wasn't an election year (insofar as Obama is ever not running for office).

The first sentence in the NYT quote is not justified by the anecdote, and the "yet" in the WaPo quote doesn't make sense either. I get the sense that the writers are trying very hard to invent a change in Merkel's attitude toward Obama as a person - a change that they can't show has occurred. So they try to give that impression via tricky use of language.

Zach said...

Obama also snubbed the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall falling the year after he was elected, when he was massively popular in Germany.

Do you think they noticed? They noticed.

Zach said...

"She thinks Obama is a professor."

Really? Merkel has spent enough time in academia that she whould know what a professor is and isn't.


I actually worked in Berlin Adlershof, either in the same building or a few buildings away from where Merkel worked.

Merkel was a theoretical chemist working for the East German Academy of Sciences in the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry. That's not exactly an easy job to get. She was the only woman in her department.

The idea that Merkel would be alienated by Obama the Professor misses the point that Merkel's academic career was significantly more accomplished than Obama's was. She was a member of her country's most prestigious academy, working in her institute's core area of proficiency. Obama had an entry level job that never turned into anything full time.