Friday, September 10, 2010

Foot-in-mouth disease ...

... seems to be an occupational hazard of politicians around the world. Here's a recent example from Germany:
An ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will resign from a top party post after suggesting that Poland may have been as responsible as Hitler for the outbreak of World War II.

Erika Steinbach said Poland had mobilised its troops months before the Nazis invaded in September 1939.

Her remarks were criticised by senior politicians including Mrs Merkel.

Mrs Steinbach heads a conservative body representing Germans who were expelled from Eastern Europe after the war. [....]
When political figures accidentally blurt out idiotic and offensive things they really believe, the effect can sometimes be usefully illuminating, since they're usually not the only ones who believe them. In this case, though, it's reassuring to know that pseudo-historical claims of this sort still go beyond the limits of respectable public discourse in German politics.

--Jeff Weintraub