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In English, well the States anyway, the term is 'classic liberal' and if I remember correctly, Ronald Reagan tried to portray himeself as such for a bit while in office.

One should add that left-wingers insist on calling FDP-Politicians 'Neoliberal' which is a swearword to them. They call themselves 'Sozial-Liberale' meaning that they are liberal on issues like gay marriage, abortion, minorities or civil rights but they foolishly believe that the state should actively intervene to get things right. 'Neoliberale' are equally tolerant on the issues above but believe in the power of the market.

I prefer to be called a Paleo-Liberal

Thats a true liberal - one who believes in freedom - for myself and for others too

Doesn't most of the English-speaking world (outside the US) use "liberal" in the classical sense, as in the Liberal Party in Australia or Canada or the British Liberal Democrats? Or do I just read too much of The Economist?

Scott, Correct for Australia but the Liberal/Conservative terms in Canada seem to have a pretty American flavor to me.

The FDP is best described as the party for christian democrats, who don't go to church and for social democrats, who drive a Porsche.

They ruled with the CDU in the 60s, with the SPD in the 70 s and early 80s and again with the CDU from the mid 80s to the late 90 s. On a state level they also did so called red/ yellow/green Ampel ( traffic light) coalitions. There are still two wings in the party, one social liberal, which has more in common with the Green Party than with the CDU and an economic liberal wing, which is very pro free market and often called " Neoliberal " by the media.

If elections would be held today polls show the FDP would get around 6 %, so far they did not benefit at all from the economic mess created by Red/ Green in Berlin. The CDU would get 46 %, very close to a majority without the FDP. I would prefer a conservative goverment without the Liberals and if only because I don't want to read embarrassing stories in the international press about a German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle touring the world with his boyfriend.

--Lohn: Pronounced like the word "loan", this is the German word for salary or wages.--

Makes sense, since they believe they are loaned their salary from the State.

In english best match would be libertarian

"Also, it is common in German media to maintain the original term when talking about foreign parties. "Forza Italia". "PLO - Palestine Liberation Organization". Not so when it comes to Democrats and Republicans. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine why."


suggested answer:
The German media follows by and large the following simple rule: leave abbreviations (e.g. WHO for World Health Organization, but WTO for WeltHandelsOrganisation) unchanged, translate words that have close homonyms in German (Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals, Gaullists etc.), but not designations that are not commonly understood but easily pronounced by German Speakers (Tories, Forza Italia, Sinn Fein).
This is probably the most efficient way of removing linguistic challenges to TV news hosts without adding too much confusion to the international letter soup. There are of course, as with everything concerning the German language, a few exceptions, mostly for historic reasons (e.g. GUS rather than CIS, since the full name is also used frequently).

Good points Scott and Norman. This may well be a German-North American English false friend phenomena.

---Ray D.

This is an extremely important point. I think you could expand on it even further. Part of the problem is terminology or a 'false friend' issue, i.e. Liberale (German) does not equal liberals (English). But, it is fair to say that Linke (German) does equal liberals (English).

But, another point needs to be made: it's very hard for an American to follow German politics, because the issues and agendas are so different. Most Americans can identify the difference between Democrat and Repulican stances on 20 issues of importance to Americans. But, in Germany, the important issues are completely different or not as well defined.

The American public was divided 50/50 on Iraq, but Germans were divided maybe 80/20. This is weird. We don't get it.

That's why the Iraq war issue was fascinating, and so clarifying. Finally, we got to see which actors in Germany identified with Bush and which one's didn't. It was the first time Germans identified their stance based on American issues. And, it gave us an opportunity to make points of comparison.

So, in a way, German politics became more American. But, clearly, the American media, with their love affair with Abu Ghraib, became more European.

One more point: one could make the case that Bill Clinton would fit comfortably in the SPD or CDU. Hillary, on the other hand, is pretty hardcore left. Bush wouldn't fit in any party.

My guess is that the different use of the word "Liberal" in Europe and the US is mainly for historic reasons - while the meaning of "Liberal" seems to have been pretty much the same everywhere in the Western world around 1800, the split between Liberals and Conservatives in Europe was mostly over economic issues (free markets vs mercantilism) over which there was little dispute in the US at that time (probably still true today). But Liberals and Conservatives in the US clashed on the separation of state and church, so that American Liberals would have defined themselves as secularists but not as "Economic Liberals" which made it possible for them to adopt a "left-wing" welfare agenda later on. Ok, maybe this is too simplistic, but it's an interesting question.

Dennis Kucinich would fit perfectly into the German Green Party.

These two paragraphs from The Economist (04. Nov. 2004) sum it up in my opinion. After talking about the term 'liberal' as defined in US-Politics the author writes about Europe:

"“Liberal” is a term of contempt in much of Europe as well—even though, strangely enough, it usually denotes the opposite tendency. Rather than being keen on taxes and public spending, European liberals are often derided (notably in France) for seeking minimal government—in fact, for denying that government has any useful role at all, aside from pruning vital regulation and subverting the norms of decency that impede the poor from being ground down. Thus, in continental Europe, as in the United States, liberalism is also regarded as a perversion, a pathology: there is consistency in that respect, even though the sickness takes such different forms. And again, in its most extreme expression, it tests the boundaries of tolerance. Worse than ordinary liberals are Europe's neoliberals: market-worshipping, nihilistic sociopaths to a man. Many are said to believe that “there is no such thing as society.”

Yet there ought to be a word—not to mention, here and there, a political party—to stand for what liberalism used to mean. The idea, with its roots in English and Scottish political philosophy of the 18th century, speaks up for individual rights and freedoms, and challenges over-mighty government and other forms of power. In that sense, traditional English liberalism favoured small government—but, crucially, it viewed a government's efforts to legislate religion and personal morality as sceptically as it regarded the attempt to regulate trade (the favoured economic intervention of the age). This, in our view, remains a very appealing, as well as internally consistent, kind of scepticism. "

If an election were held today the CDU/CSU and the FDU would get 54% of the vote to the SPD/Greens 38%. Now thats and outright majority in the Lower House.

Everyone knows that the ecomony isn't going to get better anytime soon in the next two years and the inpending defeat of the SDP in NRW on May 22 will seal the death of Schroeder and his narrow majority government.

Also Chrisitan im guessing your from the CSU wing of the CDU/CSU so quit with the homophobia, Guido Westerwelle has never acts inapporiatley in his official obligations.

Konrad's guess is, with all due respect, entirely wrong.

To provide some understanding of how the contemporary use of the terms conservative and liberal in the US came to be (one could write a very lengthy essay or more) on this, I'd say the following:

1. The ideological hardening of the US political parties (Democrat = liberal, Republican = conservative) is a very recent (since the 1970s) and unprecedented phenomenon, as is the great emphasis on whether or not a position or politican is a liberal or conservative.
2. What Americans call liberalism today had its beginnings in the Progressive movement of the late 19th/earlier 20th century America. Indeed, hard left politicians in the US today eagerly describe themselves today as "progressives".
3. The term liberal, if I recall correctly, first came to be used in something resembling its current form in the 1930s by those supporters of the New Deal who wished to distinguish themselves from both the older Progressives and the hard left Socialists and Communists. During liberalism's heyday from 1932 to 1968, both Democrats and Republicans described themselves as liberals.
4. Those who were opposed to liberalism in the 1940s and 1950s (a very small number) began to call themselves conservatives, even though they often were calling for radical change from the status quo. It was at this time that the term conservative came to be used in something resembling its current form.
5. What and who is understood to be liberal/conservative in the US has changed over time. The clearest example is Ronald Reagan. Reagan was a strong liberal who voted for Franklin Roosevelt four times and campaigned actively for Harry Truman in 1948. Yet he was the most successful American conservative in the second half of the 20th century. As he noted, "I never left the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me."

Guido Westerwelle is a joke and he made a joke out of the FDP and that is not because he is gay, it is because he tried to turn the party in some kind of Spasspartei ( Fun party), when he went into the Big Brother House ( reality TV Show) , when he drove around with this yellow Van during the 2002 election campaign and called himself a chancellor candidate, something no FDP leader has done before. In a large part the disappointing result of the FDP in this election under his leadership was responsible for four more years of red/ green. It is not a secret that most FDP members would prefer Wolfgang Gerhard as head of the party again.

And about the homophobia, I absolutly agree with Stoiber and the CSU that a divorced women without children from Eastern Germany and a gay man from the Rhineland as chancellor and vice chancellor are not a combination that appeals to the conservative base in Germany. I don't think these people have the ability to turn things around in Germany. While I think the economy is the biggest problem right now , I don't think it is the only problem. This country has lost all its values and we need to revitalize them. President Horst Köhler and Pope Benedict XVI are a good start , but we need more role-models like that for our children.

And we need less of that:

http://focus.msn.de/hps/fol/newsausgabe/newsausgabe.htm?id=13955

Cornelia Pieper of the FDP, a close friend of Westerwelle wants to re-write German schoolbooks, because homosexuals are not mentioned often enough.
Quote: " Our schoolchildren have to learn that homosexual relationships are as normal as other relationships"

and
" As politicians we can support gay students and teachers by strengthening their rights and relationships more than we do today."

So it seems to me making gay marriages legal was not enough for Mrs Pieper and the FDP. Maybe if we teach less math and english and of couse no religion and teach our a children more about homosexuality we might improve our education system. Our schools are just not liberal enough.


@ Niko

>>There is also a German far-right party called "Die Republikaner", founded in the 80s if I remember correctly. Germans sure know that the US Republicans are not the same party. However, the German Republikaner called themselves that way to mislead the German public about its extremist agenda, and in the end I'm quite sure that Germans have an uneasy feeling when hearing the term applied to the US party.<<

I agree with you, I see this as a reason some Germans are not comfortable with the Republican Party.
But I think you got caught in this European-American terminology mixup too. "Die Republikaner" is not a far-right party as Americans understand it (only Germans call it that), since it has a socalist agenda. It is a Neonazi party. What would americans call that? Extreme Nationalist Socialist???

Christian this happens to be 2005 and not 1952.

Is their a problem with Angela Merkel being divorced?

Should she have stayed in marriage that made her unhappy like they did in the past?

Many women in Germany today are should that exclude them from political office?

Do you have a problems with people that come from Eastern Germany?

They are Germans you know, it has been 15 years since unification.

Westerwelle and Stoiber both should share the blame for the oppositions narrow defeat in 2002 that allowed Schroeder to America bash his way back into the chancellory.

Has for expaling that homsexuality exist in a complex society to school children what is the problem with this?

Tolerence can be a good thing Christian.

I think that Germany is a better country today then it was in 1952?

Re: The listing of German words vs. English.

Undoubtedly the word similarities are the result of the ancient influences of Germanic languages on English. It is interesting to contemplate how they undoubtedly began with the same meaning and evolved in different directions.

Of particular interest is the word "gift" (poison in German). The word "gift" exists in Swedish as well - but with two meanings. One is the same as German(poison) the other means married...

Yikes!

Thanks to David for a great blog that I read daily.

From my European perspective, the American party system is at least as confusing as the German one.

One bit that I find particularly confusing (correct me, if I am wrong):

The Republicans are the party of A. Lincoln. In his time, they were anti-slavery. For a century after the civil war, the Democrats therefore had a virtual monopoly in the south. Yet today, the South seems to be mostly in Republican hands and it is the Democrats who most strongly support civil rights and minority rights.

@Flipp

I understand your confusion about the old "Democrats" and "Republicans", let me try to clarify.

Republicans stand more for individual rights, wheras the democrats stand more for collective rights.

Take the slavery issue for example. Republicans would see slavery as a violation of an individuals right to freedom, wheras the democrats would see it as a violation of the freedom of black people. Democrats care more about to what group you belong to than to recognize the rights of individuals.

I would like to draw your attention to Jacques Chirac's use of the word liberal in his campaign to get the French people to ratify the European constitution:

http://www.elysee.fr/elysee/francais/interventions/dialogues_et_debats/2005/debat_du_president_de_la_republique_avec_des_jeunes_sur_tf1_referendum_endirect_avec_le_president.29361.html

Alors, il y avait deux solutions : la solution du laisser-aller, un peu celle que nous avons jusqu'ici poursuivie, c'est-א -dire une solution conduisant א une Europe poussיe par le courant ultralibיral et une Europe, disons, anglo-saxonne, atlantiste. Ce n'est pas celle que nous souhaitons. La deuxiטme voie, c'est une Europe humaniste mais qui, pour imposer son humanisme, ses valeurs, doit ךtre organisיe, doit ךtre forte. Une Europe qui a la puissance nיcessaire pour compter dans ce monde de demain. Et pour cela, il faut qu'elle soit organisיe, qu'elle ait une ambition commune.

Translation into English by John Rosenthal in his Transatlantic Intelligencer http://trans-int.blogspot.com/

There are, then, two solutions. The solution of letting matters take their course – a bit the solution that we have pursued up until now – that’s to say a solution that leads to a Europe borne by the ultraliberal current: let’s say an Anglo-Saxon, Atlanticist Europe. That’s not what we want. The second way is a humanist Europe, but which, in order to be able to impose its humanism [sic.], must be organized, must be strong.

Translation from French into German by me:

Es gibt also zwei Loesungen : die Option, die Dinge gehen zu lassen, ein bisschen, wie wir das bisher getan haben, soll heiessen, eine Loesung, die zu einem Europa fuehrt, das von einem ultraliberalen Strom getrieben wird und ein Europa, sagen wir, angelsaechsisch und atlantistisch. Das ist nicht, was wir uns wuenschen. Der zweite Weg ist ein humanistisches Europa, das aber, um seinen Humanismus durchsetzen zu koennen, organisiert, stark sein muss. Ein Europe mit der noetigen Macht, um in der Welt von morgen zu zaehlen. Und dafuer muss es organisiert sein und einen gemeinsamen Ehrgeiz haben.

Pay attention how he uses "ultra liberal" as the opposite of humanist and associates humanism with the use of force!

Which sort of "liberal" could he possibly have in mind?

Flipp - you wrote - "The Republicans are the party of A. Lincoln. In his time, they were anti-slavery. For a century after the civil war, the Democrats therefore had a virtual monopoly in the south. Yet today, the South seems to be mostly in Republican hands and it is the Democrats who most strongly support civil rights and minority rights."

Confusing indeed

These labels change over time and people do shift ( see Reagan from 1948 to 1968 ) but the Southern Democrats are particularly interesting

After the Civil War, indeed just before it as well, the new Republican party ( first ran a candidate for President in 1856 - John Fremont ) had no friends in the South

Naturally the Democratic party took full control just after re-construction ( 1876 or so ) and kept it for 100 years

The people in this region re-imposed their system on the blacks and enforced it by the law imposed by Democratic governors and officials

To be fair they would have done so if the parties were different names

What happened in the 1960's was Johnsons "Great Soceity"- I believe his advisors told him he had just handed the south to the republican party for the next 50 years - and so it happened.

So now the south is a republican block of states - but not based upon racism

Its based upon a backlash to the democrats "entitlement" programs to everyone but white, straight, male americans.

I do need to set you straight on one thing - this idea that the democrats are stronger in their support of civil/minority rights.

This is indeed the conventional view - but my, and many others, understanding is that the democratic party has hurt the black american community by perpetuating this sense of inferiority over many generations

We call it the "democratic plantation" and they want to keep black american's beholden to them for the supposed benefit of social programs and affirmative action

Blacks vote democratic in such a staggering disproportion it is a sense of amazement to me why?

The democratic party hasn't done very well for them to be honest - there is generally a token black leader ( seems to always be a Reverend - so much for separation of Church and State )- and blacks are expected to vote Democrat no matter what

No other ethnic group is so monolithic

Hispanic american's split their vote so BOTH parties must appeal to them to win their votes

Blacks are taken for granted as democratic voters

Support for minority rights - I don't think of this as a democratic strength - I see it as clinging to this image far past its sell by date

Concerning Flipp's comment about the US Democrats as the party of civil right, it depends on which civil rights you're talking about. The right to bear arms, for example, is a civil right articulated in the second amendment to the Constitution, but most Democrats don't care too much to defend it. Similarly, freedom of speech is guaranteed in the first amendment, but those who want to create legal categories of so-called "hate speech" and those who want to impose campus speech codes tend to vote Democrat.

The party of Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond is the better for black rights? That's a tough sell.

To be sure, Republicans are courting the balck vote and definitly making inroads (there's an economist article about it this week) but the taint of racism, fair or unfair, still permeates the popular conception of the Republican party. This is fading and Bush has helped.

@ Ray D:

This blog (as opposed to the comments) seems to be getting more partisan lately. Is that your intent? I thought of this as a non-partisan, media watchdog type blog and I've criticized you in the past for partisanship, is it naive to think that this could be done in a non-partisan fashion?

Just curious about the mission. Thanks

Note from David: Frank, check this link:
http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2004/12/our_comment_pol_1.html
"Our criticism is from a “politically incorrect” point of view – our position is pro-American, pro-Israeli and pro-capitalist."
Being biased isn't the problem. Coloring your report in a biased fashion is. Or: maintaining you are unbiased while you (and your reporting) in fact are not unbiased, is a problem.
Funny - people keep telling us almost from the start that we have become biased "lately".

OT:

Via LGF:

German companies are also involved in the kickback scandal looming over the oil for food program. United Nations investigators recently requested exports files on 50 German firms from the Foreign Ministry....

@ Frank:

Since we're resurrecting dead Republicans, like Strom Thurmond, to hang around the GOP's neck, can I mention Sens. Al Gore, Sr. and William Fulbright, two Demos who voted against Civil Rights in 1964?

Also, can you please tell us what topics we're shouldn't discuss? We just want to make sure we don't appear "biased" or "partisan."

Strom could filibuster, tho. 24 hours straight.

Bring it on.

Let's toss the Democrat's finest Senator, Senator Byrd. Think he still has his KKK suit in the closet? Race is a diversion - not a political issue. Eventually the blacks will understand that and get with the program. Tis a brave new world.

As the Latino's have learned - Viva Bush!

Pogue: Thanks for your interesting comments about the American political parties in the South. As a person who lived through Southern politics in the '60s (admittedly as a child), let me throw in a few other things:

First, people who aren't familiar with American history have to understand the after-effects of the Civil War. As others have pointed out, the great President Lincoln was largely responsible for prosecuting the war and defeating the Confederacy. But the other thing to note is that he was, to a great extent, the "conscience" of the party, and he held back many party leaders who wanted to take a much more wild-eyed approach to the war. (They didn't call them the "Radical Republicans" for nothing.) In the latter stages of the war, when it became apparent that the Union was going to win and people starting thinking about what to do after the war, Lincoln wanted to devise something like a Marshall Plan for the South. On the other hand, most of the other party leaders wanted much more of a Treaty of Versailles approach -- the South would be regarded as spoils for the victors to do with as they pleased.

Unfortunately, Lincoln was assassinated before the war ended. His successor, Andrew Johnson, tried to enforce Lincoln's post-war policies, but he lacked Lincoln's personal charisma or something, and he eventually got steamrolled by the wild-eyed faction. Military rule was imposed on the South, and revenge was the rule of the day. Most whites, including a great many who never owned slaves and had supported the Union position before the war, were stripped of their legal status as free persons and of all their possessions except the clothes on their backs. Some Republicans tried to set up programs to help the newly freed (and mostly uneducated) slaves, but these programs quickly became corrupt. There was a bank for ex-slaves called the Freedman's Bank, but it was corrupt, and a few years after the end of the war it failed and took most of the assets of the blacks with it. Now everyone in the South was dirt-poor, blacks and whites alike, while a great many Northern Republicans became incredibly wealthy off of the spoils.

Thus, by 1880, the word "Republican" had become a swear word in the South. The so-called (with great irony) "Reconstruction" period actually marked the beginning of a period of economic deprivation that lasted for 70 years, right up until the start of WWII. The Democratic Party positioned itself as the South's defender; it actually did very little, but it wasn't a difficult position to maintain since the Republicans had left it wide open. It didn't help that the Republicans eventually became known nationwide as the party of the Northern elites, the people who had all the money and all the political influence, while the South had neither. No Southerner voted Republican; it would have been like a West German voting for a Nazi right after WWII. It simply wasn't done.

When I was a child in the '60s, even at that point nearly a century after the Civil War, the Republican Party was still associated with this regional animosity. In civics class, when they explained the political parites in the fourth grade, the Republicans only got a mention as the party of the New Yorkers and Bostonians with whom we had absolutely nothing in common, other than that we happened to live in the same country with them. In the South, the Republican Party didn't matter. They almost never won elections, and the voting base was so overwhelmingly Democratic that the small Republican organizations in most Southern states couldn't raise enough funds to even field a candidiate for most offices. The voting choices were generally between various factions of the Democrats, who had a habit of splitting off into various third parties and then recombining after a year or two.

Anyway, this brings up to about 1970. Now the Democratic Party had long promoted itself as the "big tent" party, able to tolerate and work with a wide range of views. However, it was also true that, even while fighting for civil rights, the Democrats were also the ones fighting until the last to preserve segregation in the South. By 1970, the cognitive dissonance had become too much. The party couldn't continue to hold two totally opposite beliefs and continue to promote them. But the Southern Democrats were not going to go away, because they knew they could not win in the South as Republicans. There was one heck of a battle for the heart of the Democratic Party, and it narrowly dodged a bullet when George Wallace, who was leading in the 1972 primaries, failed to dodge a would-be assassian's bullet in a Maryland parking lot.

But something just as bad for the party happened. Out-and-out socialist-pacifist George McGovern won the nomination, and was then absolutely trounced in the general election by Richard Nixon. Oddly enough, it was at this point that the Southern Democrats began to lose momentum. Wallace was in a wheelchair and Orval Fabus and Lester Maddox had finally retired, as the South started to reject racism. Suddenly the Democratic Party had no purpose in the South. They didn't know what they stood for anymore.

But that itself wasn't sufficient to turn the tables. Two things happened: the first was Ronald Reagan. One of his absolute brilliant strokes was to sort through the Southern values and pick out what was good, while rejecting the bad bits. By adopting some Southern conservatism without the racism and ignorance that had been part of the ugly side of Southern values, Reagan made himself the first really successful Republican candidate in the South. Even so, lots of Southerners continued to vote Democratic out of habit, especially in state and local elections. Reagan aside, they just couldn't bring themselves to vote for "those damn Northern Republicans".

It took other specific things happening in specific areas to finally break that association. What happened in Alabama in 1986 is actually a fascinating, and rather bizarre, bit of political history. George Wallace (running as a progressive, with full support of the Democratic black groups!) had won his final term as governor in 1982. In poor health, he declined to run again in 1986, and instead put his hand-picked successor, Bill Baxley, forward as the "official" Democratic nominee. Unfortunately, Alabamians were finally getting wise to the corruption and good-old-boy networks of the Wallace political machine, and in the primary they chose Charles Graddick, who had positioned himself as a reformer, to be the Democratic nominee.

The Wallace operatives went to work. They persuaded a friendly and Democrat-dominated Alabama Supreme Court to throw out the results of the primary on a technicality. Furthermore, rather than order another election, the court gave Wallace's people free reign to simply choose their own candidate! This was in utter defiance of Alabama law, which specified the procedures for primary elections. Of course, the Democrat leaders in the state chose Baxley. Now, the state Republicans had nominated a candidate named Guy Hunt, but they regarded it as only a formality.

On election day, a lot of people who had voted for Graddick in the Democratic primary started asking themselves: "Why are we voting Democrat"?
Answer: "Because we always have. Our fathers voted Democrat, and our grandfathers voted Democrat."
Q: "Well, is that really a good reason?"
A: "Hmmm..."

Lo and behold, when the votes were counted that night, enough disgusted Democrats had cast a protest vote for Guy Hunt that the state suddenly had its first Republican governor in over a hundred years. And Hunt turned out to be a pretty good governor. After that, state voters went over to the Republican Party in droves. Seeing which way the train was headed, several Alabama congressmen changed parties. In just a few years, Alabama had switched from being a solid Democratic state to a solid Republican one.

And it was all due to George Wallace... sort of...

Ugh....Pogue...
The fact of the matter is...that the Republican party is/has become, the party of big business. It is dominated by this so-called "Free Market" mentality where it is acceptable for labor to be farmed out to other countries on the cheap until it comes the the issues (such as on-line drug purchases, where individuals can pay much less for the same drug). THEN it is called being Un-American. The Republicans (Free Market-ers), have made an unholy alliance with the Religious Conservatives who are more worried about the so-called "Moral Degradation" of the United States than profit motive.
The two have SOME common roots, those of the Calvinist wing of the Protestant Reformation. It would not be so difficult to see a "Puritan" in today's Republican Party. (Interesting that the English ran that group out of Britian after the Cromwell fiasco).
The Republican Party of Today would throw Lincoln out on his ear, and the Democrats of the late 1800's and even until the 1970's were busy maintaining the Seperation of the Races by legislation. So they are by no means comparable by their own party's histories.

It's not really a false friend. In the US the now popular term 'liberal' steams from the colloquial use of liberal as "liberal" in a sense of "lenient/permissive/tolerant". The term liberal in German is used as "lenient/permissive/tolerant" too.

A classic liberal of in a political sense would still be a liberal - repective a classic liberal - new american English = 'Libertarian'.

That was me just above...

recently i was in the states, and when asked if i was a democrat and a republican, i told them i was both. of course i needed to explain that i live in undemocratic monarchy (belgium), so that those terms have a slightly different meaning over here...

@ Erik
Both parties have blood on thier hand wrt civil rights. Perhaps you misunderstood me, I don't think the reeps are actually racist, they just have that reputation, as I said "fairly or unfairly"

You're right about old strommy! 24 hours man, that's straight out of Mr Smith goes to washington, err, sort of.

Revisiting misunderstanding:
'Also, can you please tell us what topics we're shouldn't discuss? We just want to make sure we don't appear "biased" or "partisan." '

Partisan debate will always break out in the commenets but my question is, is this a non partisan blog or a right wing blog? Since it seems to be tilting lately more towards the latter, I wasn't sure if partisanship was valid criticim. It'd be stupid to point out to a partisan blog, say powerline or daily kos, that they're being partisan. But a non-partisan blog would welcome such criticism. Which one is medienkritik?

DaKruser wrote:

"Ugh....Pogue...
The fact of the matter is...that the Republican party is/has become, the party of big business."

The Republican party is indeed more business friendly - as to being the party of big business - it depends upon which business. If its the business of litigation - then no. If its the business of bigger gov't - again no. Is business a bad thing anyway? Even BIG business? I work for a big business.


"It is dominated by this so-called "Free Market" mentality where it is acceptable for labor to be farmed out to other countries on the cheap until it comes the the issues (such as on-line drug purchases, where individuals can pay much less for the same drug). THEN it is called being Un-American."

Um - didn't Clinton sign the NAFTA trade agreement - so why is it the Republicans who are behind this farming out of labor to other countries? Can you see where this perception is at odds with reality.
As for the Drug companies - there are reasons why all those "cheap drug" options are not so easy - consider how many pharmeceutical innovations have come out of Europe or Canada in the last 30 years - and how many from the US
Go ahead and pass some law that demands free or cheap medicine for all - see what happens to the R&D funds for new drugs.

"The Republicans (Free Market-ers), have made an unholy alliance with the Religious Conservatives who are more worried about the so-called "Moral Degradation" of the United States than profit motive."

Well I don't know that it is "unholy" ;)

But I would agree that the Christian right and the free market republicans are together. The alternative is the actual unholy alliance of the atheist left ( Hollywood, big cities ) and the poor being told they can have a chicken in every pot if the rich started paying their fair share.
Class warfare my friend - its the same old song and dance from the Democrats each election.


"The two have SOME common roots, those of the Calvinist wing of the Protestant Reformation. It would not be so difficult to see a "Puritan" in today's Republican Party. (Interesting that the English ran that group out of Britian after the Cromwell fiasco)."

There are all sorts of Puritans around today - not all are religious. Some are anti-religious puritans who want their own othodoxy enforced. Why single out the Christian's?


"The Republican Party of Today would throw Lincoln out on his ear, and the Democrats of the late 1800's and even until the 1970's were busy maintaining the Seperation of the Races by legislation. So they are by no means comparable by their own party's histories."

Why would they throw Lincoln out? I'd be interested to understand how you reached this conclusion - unless you are saying he was gay :)

I'm not sure this is really the place, but I'll respond. Lincoln, as President and Repulican, was ENTIRELY driven by the sovereignty of the Nation over the States. The current emphasis of the Republican Party is that of Smaller Gov't with less and less interference in issues that many in that group see as regional, and/or State's issues. We are constantly bombarded with the Roe vs Wade issue (as an example). That being, that the STATES should decide whether or not Abortion is legal within their borders. That arguement is not so dis-similar to the South's contention that the STATES should decide whether or not Slavery would be legal. We fought a Civil War with State's Rights as the Core issue. Lincoln stood solidly behind the concept of Federal sovereignty, so I doubt the present-day party would stand with him or consider him to be a viable candidate.
Next, your's is the common arguement for why it costs so much more in the US for the self-same drugs being purchased out of Canada by our Seniors (WHY they feel the need to do so is an interesting study also). We develop them here, so, it costs more here. I may be a Democrat, but I think pretty logically (I'm not 'one of those Hollywackos to use Rush's term), and that arguement just makes no sense. One would THINK that the location of development would be where the item is cheapest because of the lack of transportation costs, extra overhead, etc. that is not even CLOSE to being the case.
Finally, the class-warfare thing. Pogue, come on. If you REALLY think the Corporate structure in the US WANTS the average every-day guy (as I assume both of us are) to succeed, I understand why you used this term. However, if you are willing to view this in more non-personal terms, I hope you don't see this as some Communist plot to over-throw our system. It is not. All we, as the main consumers (if you are in the Middle-class as I am) should be asking for is as much loyalty (as their workers) as Industry asks of us (purchasing their products). If the Bottom line is what drives all (that is the only reason to export jobs), then it really IS us vs them, and they will not shed a single tear when your pink-slip comes. Interesting that when the last several CEO's who got FIRED walked out the door they took more in severence pay than you or I will make in the next 5 years (that is if you make a couple million dollars/year, which I don't). Of the two philosophies, Conservative or Liberal (in the US), the one who stands with the Middle and lower-class is the Liberal cause.

Interesting referrence to the Log-Cabin Republicans, Pogue.

"I'm not sure this is really the place, but I'll respond. Lincoln, as President and Repulican, was ENTIRELY driven by the sovereignty of the Nation over the States. The current emphasis of the Republican Party is that of Smaller Gov't with less and less interference in issues that many in that group see as regional, and/or State's issues. We are constantly bombarded with the Roe vs Wade issue (as an example). That being, that the STATES should decide whether or not Abortion is legal within their borders. That arguement is not so dis-similar to the South's contention that the STATES should decide whether or not Slavery would be legal. We fought a Civil War with State's Rights as the Core issue. Lincoln stood solidly behind the concept of Federal sovereignty, so I doubt the present-day party would stand with him or consider him to be a viable candidate."

We fought the Civil War with Slavery and Secession as the core issues. The Confederates called this a matter of States Rights - sort of an early form of political correctness

I don't think you can say that Lincoln didn't respect States Rights simply because he insisted the Union was indivisible. There is a lot of space between "States have no rights" and "Secession" I would suggest one could be against Secession and still respect States Rights to a very large degree
Lincoln famously said he would preserve the Union by freeing all slaves, no slaves or some slaves


"Next, your's is the common arguement for why it costs so much more in the US for the self-same drugs being purchased out of Canada by our Seniors (WHY they feel the need to do so is an interesting study also). We develop them here, so, it costs more here. I may be a Democrat, but I think pretty logically (I'm not 'one of those Hollywackos to use Rush's term), and that arguement just makes no sense. One would THINK that the location of development would be where the item is cheapest because of the lack of transportation costs, extra overhead, etc. that is not even CLOSE to being the case."

Transportation costs???? What are dealing with here - rolled steel? C'mon - tranportation costs of pharmeceuticals are nothing compared to the real cost- development, testing and approval

All of this takes time - decades to take one drug from the lab to the pharmacy
And hundreds of dead end leads to find that one drug
And enormous liabilities along the way

Just do the research - see how many drugs are developed in the EU V the USA

Think logically - a pill may cost 1$ to make - and they charge 25$ for the pill....but the FIRST pill costs $1,000,000 to make

No, its not transportation that drives the cost


"Finally, the class-warfare thing. Pogue, come on. If you REALLY think the Corporate structure in the US WANTS the average every-day guy (as I assume both of us are) to succeed, I understand why you used this term. However, if you are willing to view this in more non-personal terms, I hope you don't see this as some Communist plot to over-throw our system. It is not. All we, as the main consumers (if you are in the Middle-class as I am) should be asking for is as much loyalty (as their workers) as Industry asks of us (purchasing their products). If the Bottom line is what drives all (that is the only reason to export jobs), then it really IS us vs them, and they will not shed a single tear when your pink-slip comes. Interesting that when the last several CEO's who got FIRED walked out the door they took more in severence pay than you or I will make in the next 5 years (that is if you make a couple million dollars/year, which I don't). Of the two philosophies, Conservative or Liberal (in the US), the one who stands with the Middle and lower-class is the Liberal cause."

Corporations only want to prosper

They prosper by motivating their workers

Motivated workers succeed


The middle and lower classes are much better served by a business friendly admin that promotes growth, and job creation, than by any liberal class warfare language that seeks to divide the country between "us" and those rich people.

The most curious thing about this is that Clinton, the Democrat, presided over Nafta and the Dot Com bubble of the 1990's that made so many millionaires

Yet its the Republicans who are outsourcing jobs and the party of the rich

Talk about backwards eh


"Liberal" like "conservative" or "democracy" or many other abstract political words, have so many different, often contradictory, meanings that I sometimes think it's better to abandon them entirely.

Anon, April 29, 11:20PM:

"Liberal" and "Conservative" are entirely dependent upon the society where these ideas are practiced, not the right-left scale. You see, it all depends upon WHAT you are being "liberal" or "conservative" about ;).

Thus, just before the old Soviet Union collapsed, the putsch who tried to take over the country were referred to as "conservatives". They were so far to the left they fell off the planet, but they were nevertheless conservative. They were being conservative about restoring communism back to the "good ol' days".

So when you're talking about a Russian conservative and an American conservative, you're talking about differences, not similarities, because what they are being conservative about are two diametrically different things.

Although, the fact is that today, in the US, it is the liberals who want to maintain status quo (usually a conservative view), and the neoconservatives who are coming up with all the new ideas. Paleoconservatives tend to be isolationist and are thus irrelevant in today's global society. Neoconservatives want to restore a large degree of individual choices in the US and undo most of the welfare state, but are having to come up with NEW ideas to do this in the face of the challenge of 60 years of liberal domination of Congress, and although "new" ideas tend to be a "liberal" concept, the purpose is to restore traditional positions in many areas. So we're back to square one.

So, yes, it's very confusing, but it does make a general sense when you look at the two words literally ;). They are descriptive of end goals, not identifications in and of themselves.

Quite interesting topic, here. English and German are indeed closely related languages and contain many word similarities which are NOT false friends:

Some are exact matches (albeit pronounced differently): hand - Hand, arm - Arm, finger - Finger, name - Name,
some are even pronounced (more or less) the exact same way: house - Haus, mouse - Maus
and others do have obviously the same root: book - Buch, cat - Katze, father - Vater, mother - Mutter, garden - Garten

The interesting thing today however is, that the German language is increasingly adopting English terms in everyday-speak. "Das ist cool!" (This is cool) has been around for ages. Other examples: "Der Typ ist ja voll abgefuckt" (Here the translated term "fucked up" has a slightly different meaning than in English. 'this guy is a wreck, or a loser or he is totally crazy', would be an appropriate re-translation". "Man ich bin voll am abloosen" (Dude, I am losing like crazy -- notice the wrong double-o spelling in the translation). "Das sieht aber stylish aus!" (This looks great/elegant/nice). "Der Auftrag wurde gecancellt" - (The order has been canceled), or, as I just read today in the TAZ (of all newspapers): "Menschen zwischen 25 und 45, die beruflich *gesettelt* sind" (People between 25 and 45 of age without children, who are economically/job-wise settled).

There is a lot more of those "Anglizismen" (anglicisms) of course.

Especially when new media technology is involved, Germans will use English expressions for the lack of generic German ones (which indirectly goes to show which culture is more innovative/progressive at the moment): "Ich hab dir's gerade ge-emailt" (I just e-mailed it to you). "Scan das mal für mich ein bitte" (scan this for me please), "Ich googel mal danach" (I'll be googleing for it). "Schau dir mal diese (Web)site an" (Have a look at that Website). "Wir bieten diese Datei auch zum Download an" (You can also download this file).

Like in France there is already a conservative German movement (conservative not in the American meaning of the word, but more as in "reactionary") who wants to "protect" the German language from such "Denglisch-isierung" (Denglisch, as in "Spanglish", a mixture of DEutsch and ENGLISCH) and sees in the "destruction of our German language the first attack on our German culture" (More of that, if you are interested and know how to read German, here: http://vds-ev.de/)

"Voll strange" (really strange), that two cultures which have so much in common, should have so little understanding for each other lately.

"The fact of the matter is...that the Republican party is/has become, the party of big business. It is dominated by this so-called "Free Market" mentality where it is acceptable for labor to be farmed out to other countries on the cheap until it comes the the issues (such as on-line drug purchases, where individuals can pay much less for the same drug).

Dacruser, the Republican Party always was a party of big business. From the very beginning. Lincoln made a lot of money as a 'railroad lawyer' during the 1850's when a lot of railroads were being built and planned. Look at a map of Illinois some time to see why that might be. So-called big business (joint stock companies) weren't so big back then and did not swing much weight in Washington where the Powers That Be in those days were largely southern plantation owners. Lincoln and the GOP changed that.

As for the latter part of your statement (farming work out to other countries) I suggest you look at whom in the US were in that heavily. I think you'll find that the Silicon Valley crowd and Microsoft are major drivers. Curiously, these people give a lot more to Democrats than to Republicans. The GOP these days is far more the party of the petty bourgeousie than of 'Big Business'. Insofar as the term 'Big Business' has any meaning anymore it is as a reflection of the grand capitalists. And most of them are Democrats. Think Soros, Buffett, Gates, Ellison, etc....

"THEN it is called being Un-American. The Republicans (Free Market-ers), have made an unholy alliance with the Religious Conservatives who are more worried about the so-called "Moral Degradation" of the United States than profit motive.

"The Republican Party of Today would throw Lincoln out on his ear, and the Democrats of the late 1800's and even until the 1970's were busy maintaining the Seperation of the Races by legislation. So they are by no means comparable by their own party's histories."

Well no they wouldn't, actually. Try thinking of the Emancipation Proclamation in conspiritous terms. Whom did it hurt and whom did it benefit? It ruined the southern planter class - no doubt about that. The longtime mainstay of the Democratic Party, btw. And it helped? Well, what do you suppose releasing a couple million freed negroes onto the labor market did to that market? I suspect it depressed wages for a very long time.

This is one case in which doing good and doing well coincided I'd agree. And it had to happen. But a lot of free white laborers at the bottom of the heap ended up paying a big price for it.

DaKruser: "Next, your's is the common arguement for why it costs so much more in the US for the self-same drugs being purchased out of Canada by our Seniors (WHY they feel the need to do so is an interesting study also). We develop them here, so, it costs more here. I may be a Democrat, but I think pretty logically (I'm not 'one of those Hollywackos to use Rush's term), and that arguement just makes no sense. One would THINK that the location of development would be where the item is cheapest because of the lack of transportation costs, extra overhead, etc. that is not even CLOSE to being the case."

Drugs are cheaper in Canada because their government is subsidizing them.

Niko wrote - "I guess one could say, the Democrat party is the party of well educated people"

Oddly it has been the Democracts pushing measures like the Motor Voter bill

This measure automatically regustering all persons getting or renewing a drivers license to vote

Now I'll all in favor of getting people to register to vote - but frankly if they are too disintereted to do so I can't see the value in forcing them to register to vote

I tend to think our democracy is better served if such ignorants do not vote

But the Democratic party backed this mesaure - guess why

@ Frank: In this blog, I detect a lot of cheerleading by Ray and David. They are actively cheering for the demise of Fischer and Schroeder. Nothing would make them happier. They also seem to have a touch of Schadenfreude at the demise of SPON. In addition, I saw pictures of them in Mainz carrying pro-Bush placards.

So, I guess, that makes this an extreme far-right blog. This is not to say they are Neanderthals. But, that's just their reputation. "Fairly or unfairly." :-)

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