Six weeks to go till Election Day, and Peer Steinbrück is raging against the dying of the light, or the flattening of the polls. This week he took his “Plain Speaking”-Tour into angry overdrive. While Angela Merkel was still lounging around on an inflatable banana somewhere on the Ostsee, Steinbrück desperately hoped to make up ground on his opponent.
It’s a tortoise and the hare thing, but with the tortoise Steinbrück still going the wrong way, probably on drugs, so even if the hare Merkel is being way too complacent, it’ll still win just by falling out of its hammock. While a few weeks ago Steinbrück could still have hoped to force Merkel into a grand coalition – but with him as the gimp, so not really forcing – now the polls say that even the FDP, led by the equally tortoise-like Rainer Brüderle, might be in a strong enough position to give us – the exact same government as we have now.
So what option does Steinbrück have? His campaign speeches are getting more and more animated. He now prowls the stage like a maddened predator, lashing out at anyone who buys or sells Merkel’s image as an able administrator. His speeches condemn Merkel as someone who just allows the country to “roll on,” she is, he says, “no effort” for people. At some points, it sounds like Steinbrück would actually like to govern a different country with different people. “I am addressing everyone who still wants to do something with this country,” he says.
He looks up and a farmer on his own in a field chewing some grass looks over his shoulder. “Who me?”