Strong but reserved and temperate leadership is hard to make exciting. And maybe exciting is not a quality people are looking for in times that are so exciting that they are scary. In Europe, the Germans--of all people!--are turning out to be a source of continental common sense. They are exercising decisive influence on a middle course.
Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), is among those backing Germany's refusal to go along with the "binary" choice of reverting to the Deutschmark, on one hand, or pushing ahead to some political union. Political union today would mean government by bureaucracy in Brussels and the further separation of nations' voters from decision making. It is anti-democratic. This is privately the view of Europeans almost everywhere and the public position of Germany under Angela Merkel.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed out of sync with her people for a while, but she apparently is wearing well. Not because of her charisma; she doesn't have any. What she has is sensible, intelligent policies that garner sober respect. As a result, there has been a solidification of support for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) that she heads. It is up almost to 40 percent in the polls, which wouldn't be much in the two-party U.S., but is a lot in Germany. It's far ahead of the Social Democrats (26 percent). With the Free Democrat political allies at 5 percent, the CDU would seem likely to sweep in a parliamentary contest. Meanwhile, popular support, as well as Germany's relatively strong economy, gives Merkel growing clout in Europe.