German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to be the most powerful woman in the world today. This may be an understatement–she may be the most powerful politician regardless of gender. Merkel has created a ruling party of the center in Germany that marginalizes both far left and far right. She is very popular with Germans who value stability and prosperity. Whether or not she chooses to run again, her coalition and her politics are likely to endure.
Could we have an Angela Merkel in America who would create a successful coalition which would be progressive when necessary and conservative when it made sense? Could either the Democratic or Republican party be the nucleus of such a coalition? It seems not.
FDR may have had a chance. Even though he was elected to a fourth term, his efforts to combat the depression and win the war did not leave a long lasting legacy. Congress was dominated by Republicans; Truman was elected narrowly. Four years later the country chose Ike.
Johnson and Clinton muffed any chance, Johnson’s progressive success wasn’t universally popular; Clinton was derailed by scandal. Johnson and two Bush Presidents were undone by war. Clinton and Obama faced entrenched Republican intransigence.
Could Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush succeed? It seems unlikely that either would be elected with a mandate that would allow their party to move decisively to the center. We need an Angela Merkel.
© William Hungerford – December 2014