Gerhard Schröder had already based his, until a couple of days ago seemingly hopeless, reelection campaign on personal attacks against Paul Kirchhof, the Christian Democrats’ tax expert, who formulated the proposal for a flat tax. It is extremely galling to hear Schröder dump on a man who is superior to him in every way, and that he could do it to the applause of the Social Democrat support base.
Even worse, Schröder’s state minister in the Chancellory (roughly equivalent to the chief of staff in the White House), chose to use this as an election placard in his electoral district in former East Germany:
The caption says ‘She would have sent soldiers’, i.e. Angela Merkel would have sent German soldiers to Iraq, some of whom would now also come home in coffins. It seems as if Schröder’s party simply won’t stop at any depravity.
This also is a sign of how desperate the Social Democrats are. The newly formed ‘Linke’ threatens to take second place behind the Christian Democrats in former East Germany, leaving the Social Democrats in the dust in third place, with just 24 percent of the vote there. That would be an unmitigated disaster for a self-declared ‘Volkspartei’ (people’s party, as opposed to small parties like the Greens and pro-market Free Democrats).
I seriously hope that the Social Democrats lose by wide margin. It might well be that the ‘recovery’ the Social Democrats allegedly enjoy in the polls is nothing but wishful thinking by the left wing part of the press.
Some local reaction:
The decidedly left-of-center, and usually reliably anti-American Spiegel Online, notes that Schwanitz has come under a lot of criticism over the last days, in the press and also by harshly critical letters and emails.
PS: The website is right now getting redesigned, so the photo above is only visible here, SPON and at Bild.de