Angie in the Haus
8:25 AM, Sep 22, 2013 • By VICTORINO MATUS
At a final rally in Berlin's Tempodrome—not to be confused with the Terror Drome from G.I. Joe—Merkel was a star. Prior to her appearance, a soft-rock band called Noble Composition played a song called "Angie Has to Save the World." A commercial ran on the jumbotron, showing "die Kanzlerin" looking contemplative, leaning on a balcony overlooking the capital, pensive at times, and reassuring Germans about the future, speaking in soothing tones. Although her nickname, "Mutti" or Mommy, started as a cynical joke, Merkel has very much assumed the role of a comforting mother. And judging by her soaring popularity, it's working. Even the opposition has nice things to say about Merkel when it comes to her handling international affairs. Two weeks ago during a visit to D.C. for an AICGS/SAIS event, the SPD deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Hans-Ulrich Klose, admitted, "When you're looking at foreign policy, there's a great advantage to having a leader who doesn't get excited."
And Merkel never seems to get excited. But she did show a dry sense of humor, which works for her. In a steady voice, she reminded supporters what her government has accomplished in four years: One-and-a-half million jobs created, better job security, better manufacturing. "No longer is Germany the 'sick man of Europe' from the 1990s." She also stressed that unlike, say, the Greens, "We trust you to know what's better for your family than the government."
The audience was filled not only with elderly fans but also families. Next to me in the Tempodrome's nosebleed section was a father with his two young sons. They raised posters with the word "Angie!" on one side and "Together we are successful" on the other. Martin, the father, is 45 years old and works at a repair shop in nearby Schöneberg. There is no doubt in his mind Merkel is going to win. "But," he adds, "probably in a grand coalition." He is also confident that things will continue to be the same under her leadership.
One of the posters at the rally read (in translation), "Keep Cool and Vote for the Chancellor." One member of our Friedrich Naumann study group, Mike Shields of the Republican National Committee, knew this was a play on the British WWII poster "Keep Calm and Carry On." Except, Shields points out (having grown up in England), that poster never ran at the time. It was kept in reserve in case it needed to be used to rally the resistance—in the event the Germans invaded the British Isles.
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