Meanwhile, the debate roiling Europe about the continent’s struggling economies was mostly a non-issue during the campaign, as the major parties backed Merkel’s tough-love approach.
Merkel frustrated opponents but reassured voters with endless campaign platitudes. “Merkel has many good slogans. They’re all empty bubbles,” Peer Steinbruck, the Social Democratic candidate, lamented at his closing rally in East Berlin.
Such election froth would, no doubt, be maddening to cover. But it offered a soothing respite from the arrows-flying atmosphere of divided Washington and the permanent campaign.
Ruth Marcus is an editorial editor for The Washington Post.