Saturday, June 4, 2016

Publisher of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung sees Bavarian Christian Social Union as home of populist AfD voters

I have not heard anything by populist right AfD people that I have not heard from Bavarian Christian Social Union politicians or supporters has been a mantra of the K-Landnews TheEditor since the first election successes of the Alternative for Germany.

The blogster has written several posts on the subject, for example Populist AfD success in German state elections: what not to worry about - and what to worry about. In another post, the blogster called the political division of labor between the Christian Democrats (CDU), active in all states except Bavaria, and the Christian Social Union, active in Bavaria only, a game of "good cop - bad cop".

Still, an outspoken OpEd by one of the publishers of center-right conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) is more vindication than TheEditor would have expected.

The FAZ publisher calls the Christian Social Union a partner "working the field that Merkel [member of the Christian Democrats] leaves to the AfD".

Now, the esteemed publisher would most certainly cry foul if the blogster wrote that he basically concedes the political home of those German racists, xenophobes, Christian wingnuts, and rabid "anti-socialists" not completely gone to the dark side is the Christian Social Union.

The metaphor "working the field" is extremely well chosen for the purpose, because it encapsulates plausible deniability, along the lines of no, what I'm saying is that we need to engage with this part of the electorate, blah, blah, blah.

Luckily, he states in the OpEd that the strategy of not leaving a "right fringe" has been the official way of doing CDU/CSU political business for half a century. As a minimum, we can still claim that half a century of engagement hasn't worked out that well, has it?

The OpEd  is also the first "publisher level" argument that uses the term "shift to the left", which the blogster has seen used against the CDU.

According to the vigilant publisher, the CDU/CSU has undergone a process Ms. Merkel's supporters call modernization and the "CSU and the handful of conservatives remaining in the CDU calls shift to the left".
The example for the shift to the left is the "greening of family and social politics", with Bavaria the home of "traditional views of marriage and family".

A full rebuttal of the alleged shift to the left would require writing a book, let's just say it hasn't happened. There is no gay marriage in Germany. They have civil unions, and "marriage is a specially protected institution", which means that, as a result of CDU/CSU policies, partners in civil unions do not have the exact same rights as married couples.

There are many more examples showing that the "shift to the left" is an imaginary construct. Some argue that abandoning nuclear power is also proof of the shift. The blogster sees things differently, as argued in the post Forget political "left" and "right", it's about power, empathy, and a few other things.

But, hey, we should thank the FAZ publisher for clarifying where those xenophobes and authoritarian people who stop short of displaying swastikas and being anti-semites have their true political home.

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