Jetez les Vauriens
Monday May 7, 2012
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I have no idea whether that translates to "Throw the Rascals Out" but that's what happened around Europe in elections held yesterday.
In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy got beaten in his re-election try by Socialist François Hollande.
According to the International Herald Tribune (the global edition of the New York Times) Hollande is "seen as a challenge to the German-dominated policy of economic austerity in the Euro Zone, which is suffering from recession and record unemployment."
In Germany, President Angela Merkel's party was spanked in a regional election in the northern part of the nation. I am not an expert on electoral politics in Schleswig-Holstein, but according to the IHT the "Pirate party appeared to emerge as the biggest winners with 8 percent of the vote."
The German Pirate party has not been receiving, perhaps, the coverage it should be on my Twitter feed, but it appears to be the anti-Merkel Conservatives, anti-pro-business-Free Democrats and "continued to suck up disgruntled voters from all of the traditional parties."
Gary Johnson was nominated by the Libertarian Party to be its presidential candidate. This is important because that means Johnson, the former Republican Governor of New Mexico, will be on the ballot in all 50 states.
If there is a growing "I Don't Like Anybody Very Much" sentiment among voters, it will be interesting to see from whom Johnson draws more votes.
To add to the anti-incumbent fury in Europe over the weekend, there were parliamentary elections in Greece on Sunday which, again according to the IHT, plunged Greece
"into political uncertainty after voters bolstered the far left and neo-Nazi right in a wave of protest that saw the crushing defeat of the dominant political parties they blame for Greece's economic collapse."
These are not exact parallels to the U.S. For example the unemployment rate in March in the Euro Zone was 10.9 percent compared to the current U.S. rate of 8.1 percent. The Greek unemployment rate was 21.7% in January which was second only to an astonishing 24.1 percent in Spain.
According the DailyFinance.com,
"Eight Euro Zone countries, including Greece, Spain and the Netherlands, have seen their economies shrink for two straight quarters or more, the common definition of a recession."
The U.K. has also slipped into the technical definition of a recession and the employment numbers here last Friday did nothing to assuage international fears about the global economy.
Democrats in the U.S will take a hard look at the results in Europe this weekend. They may well decide the time has come to get off the "You have too much and I don't have enough, so you have to give some of yours to me" message and get on to a "prime the economic pump to get the economy moving" campaign.
If the Democrats do that - and I'm not certain that Obama can ever leave the class warfare rhetoric behind - it might well appeal to the 12.5 million Americans who are counted as being unemployed.
In the strange world of government programs, California's unemployment rate has dropped to 11 percent. Because that is less than 10 percent higher than it has been for the previous three years, the federal program that extends unemployment benefits to 99 weeks will no longer be available to 93,000 unemployed Californians.
According to the Huffington Post they "will join 670,000 other unemployed Californians whose benefits, averaging $292 a week, already have run out."
Over three quarters of a million Californians out of work and out of benefits cannot be a good thing for incumbents of either party there.
The continuing sense of unease around the world is beginning to show itself at the ballot box. If the major parties - on both sides of the Atlantic - don't begin to show they can come together on programs alleviate those economic fears we may see wholesale changes in local, state, and federal offices here as well.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to just about everything above plus the logo of the German Pirate Party. Also an amusing Mullfoto and a captivating Catchy Caption of the Day.
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