That's what a Spiegel Online headline calls him: Florian Gathmann, Kabinettsklausur in Meseberg: Merkels Liebling 23.01.2014. Vice Chancellor Sigmar "Sigi Pop" Gabriel, the leading SPD official in his Party's pathetic junior partnership in a second Grand Coalition government with Merkel, makes Barack Obama looks like a fiery partisan. And for Obama, Bipartisanship is the Holy Grail.
Gabriel as the SPD's chief candidate last year was scarcely pretending to be campaigning for an SPD-led government. He obviously was hoping for what he got, a junior partnership in a Grand Coalition headed by Merkel. Nor did he pursue the possibility of a coalition of the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party, which together have a majority of seats in the German Bundesrat.
In theory, the SPD should be building a distinct political profile in the Grand Coalition, especially with European Parliamentary elections coming in May. But he doesn't seem to care much about that.
Horand Knaup und Veit Medick report on tensions within the parties of the eastern German statements and the current SPD leadership, Zerstrittene SPD-Landesverbände: Gabriels heikler Ost-West-Konflikt Spiegel Online 24.01.2014. Not that such a thing is unusual in itself. They are complaining that the western states dominate with the SPD and giving their eastern Genossen (the word for "comrade" still ritually used by the SPD on official occasions) short shrift in party affairs.
Knaup and Medick don't suggest that any kind of formal Party schism is in the works. But if there is a serious crack-up in eurozone in the next four years with very negative economic repercussions for Germany while the SPD is being the loyal and supportive partner of Angela Merkel's policies that have put matters on that track, the SPD might not look like as good a home for aspiring office-holders as it did even in 2013.
The SPD has just nominated Martin Schultz as its candidate for the European Commission Presidency. He is current President of the European Parliament. I have previously referred to him as an Angiebot and a worthless gasbag working in the tradition of other SPD figures such as Gustav Noske and Thilo Sarrazin. See my post SPD support for Angie's Post-Democracy 2.0 plan for Greece 01/28/2012. I have not had occasion in the last two years to revise my opinion of him in a more positive direction.
The SPD's European delegates' conference in Berlin has just elected him by a 97.3% vote for that position. They expect him to be elected in a convention in Rome in March as the lead candidate for all the EU social-democratic parties. (Martin Schulz führt SPD in Europawahlkampf: 97,3 Prozent Zustimmung Kölner Stadt Anzeiger 26.01.2014)
Why doesn't the SPD make a European election campaign for the May 25 elections with a poster of Schultz and Angie standing together and smiling. Or maybe just put Angie's picture up with the slogan, "Angie, wir lieben dich!" ("Angie, we love you!")
Or maybe they could borrow one of Yannis Ioannou's cartoon's, like this "... Καθαρή Ευρώπη" ("... European Net") one of 01/23/2014, and say "THIS is what the social democrats stand for!" Ioannou here shows the current six-month Greek Presidency of the EU pounding the drowning victims of Merkel-nomics down into the water as they temporarily run the good ship "Aryan Union" on behalf of Angie, standing on the shore with her "German Union" sash applauding their performance, accompanied by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and SPD Vice Chanellor Sigmar "Sigi Pop" Gabriel.
Tags: angela merkel, austerity economics, eu, euro, european union, greece, martin schultz, spd