ZEIT ONLINE has made all speeches of the German Bundestag searchable. They show which topics dominated the debates and how much the language in the Bundestag has changed.
Volker Kauder was something like the ideological firebox of the Union faction, the rhetorical work of the group leader regularly silenced internal critics. Hard he demarcated his parliamentary team from the political edges: "Who cooperates with extremists, which makes them acceptable," cried the Christian Democrat from the desk to the plenary of the Bundestag.
How often have you heard phrases like these since the AfD moved into the parliaments of Germany - 2014 in state parliaments in Saxony and Brandenburg, then in West Germany, in the local councils and in the Bundestag. Especially now, when it turns out that in the municipalities black blue does not automatically cause a sense of shame and the saxony-hunter CDU begins to shake the taboo to the right.
But wait - Kauder? Is not even more faction leader.
The quotation from Kauder lies hidden in the speech protocols of the Bundestag of the nineties. AfD chief Alexander Gauland was still a CDU member and headed the State Chancellery in Hesse. At that time, the GDR was no longer derogatory "the zone" in the West, but rather "the new federal states" (casually: Neufünfland). Saxony, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern were just connected to the legal and economic system of the old Federal Republic. Bananas were now also available between Greifswald and Suhl. The Ossis proudly paid with hard currency. Germany united D-Mark country.
Saxony and Brandenburg are top
However, when the Bundestag, which was now occupied by all of Germany, spoke about the five new Länder, clear differences emerged. While the land giant Brandenburg, the monarchically proud Saxony, the central and convenient Thuringia, the touristic-contemplative Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania were on everyone's lips, formed Saxony-Anhalt what it always was and should remain for the foreseeable future: the rear.
Saxony-What? In the Bundestag plenum, the federal state is mentioned 2,534 times - this is knocked off last place, as the database of parliamentary words shows. Saxony and Brandenburg are talked about twice as often.
If the 30 years since the turn were a race, after an exponential rise in its curve Brandenburg would finish the race with 247 mentions per 100,000 words in 2019 alone (that's 316 percent plus within three years). The country, whose name is hardly mentioned in the parliamentary plenum, is in the current year with scanty 26 mentions again, sorry, lag behind. The Voldemort among the federal states knows what it's like to be hushed up.
And back to Volker Kauder.
In the graph, Saxony-Anhalt stands out only twice from the background noise with a peak: 1998 and 2002. It was the time in which Saxony's Prime Minister Kurt Biedenkopf forced personal discount at Ikea, the FDP wanted 18 percent, Jürgen Trittin got the eco-tax, the former PDS fought over the SED millions.
In Saxony-Anhalt, the SPD was governed by Prime Minister Reinhard Höppner, tolerated by the PDS - these are the optimistically made "extremists", on the faction leader Kauder in his speech to the Bundestag struck. Even at that time, the landscapes did not really want to blossom - the wagon construction in Ammendorf near Halle closed, the gigantic GDR chemical combine Leuna, a competitively incompetent mudflap, remained a rehabilitation case.
Rear, bottom, weakest, last and left
Exactly this painful transformation process provided the keywords for the Bundestag debates. Only by 4.3 billion D-Mark from mostly West German tax revenue Leuna survived the privatization, as it says in the 1998 Protocol, in which Kauder speaks of extremists. CDU officials go even further: Prime Minister Höppner has "renounced the similarities of all democrats" and govern as if a successor organization of the NSDAP had helped in the old Federal Republic after 1945.
The economist Cornelia Pieper criticized by the Liberals: In Saxony-Anhalt within five years 11.4 percent of the companies disappeared from the market. At that time, the state had the most unemployed in Germany, many from the former chemical plants. And Friedrich Merz says, now that even the opposition neo-Nazi party DVU sits in parliament, youth unemployment is rising to 16.5 percent - a peak. A lot of polemics for the rear light.