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Markus Lanz: The sudden change of Kevin Kühnert on ZDF

The new SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert chats with Markus Lanz about Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Hamburg – It used to be called surreptitious advertising. But it is not only common practice with Markus Lanz on ZDF. Over 50 viewers know what younger semesters do not even suspect: While candidates were not allowed to name their employer in the lovable but somewhat staid quiz show “Guess with Rosenthal” (1979-1986), this is no longer a problem with the smart South Tyrolean. And if one of the guests happens to write a book, the moderator praises it across the board.

So also at the last Tuesday evening talk (December 14th, 2021) of the year 2021, which is not poor in terms of Corona and other crises. This time, however, for once it is not about the pandemic, but two-thirds of the airtime about the change of government with the new Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Top. In addition, Markus Lanz welcomes not only ex-Juso boss and current SPD general secretary Kevin Kühnert, who was Scholz’s opponent in his own ranks for a long time, but also Lars Haider, editor-in-chief of the “Hamburger Abendblatt”. He wrote a book – as the reader might guess – “Olaf Scholz. The way to power ”. Everyone who is interested in it likes to google the publisher, because we don’t want to be suspected of doing surreptitious advertising ourselves.

Markuz Lanz (ZDF): A rather moderate exchange of blows

While the two gentlemen in the discussion on ZDF answered more (Haider) and less (Kühnert) in detail Lanz’s questions about the nature and political orientation of the new head of government of the Federal Republic of Germany, the two ladies – “taz” journalist Ulrike Herrmann and economist Prof . Dr. Veronika Grimm, who has been a member of the Economic Advisory Council since last year – largely pause for speech. As such, the latter should analyze the coalition agreement with regard to its financial feasibility. But this does not occur. At the end of the talk show, the two economic experts have at least one – albeit moderately led – exchange of blows about the need for state investments to drive the ecological turnaround: Ulrike Herrmann is in favor, while Veronika Grimm is in favor.

Markus Lanz: The guests on ZDF

Markus Lanz on ZDF on December 14th, 2021 The guests of the show
Kevin Kühnert SPD General Secretary
Lars Haider journalist
Ulrike Herrmann Journalist
Veronika Grimm Economist

This time the somewhat erratic host named Markus Lanz, who frequently interrupts his conversation partners or repeatedly throws in an impatient “ok” when he thinks he has understood something, asks, perhaps also to stir up competition in his debating club, how often the two of them do Scholz connoisseurs would have already met the newly elected Chancellor. And there it is, it is hard to believe, 300 to 100 for Haider against Kühnert.

But although the journalist has more encounters than his party comrade, he would not have thought “after the 50th or 60th time: We’ll start all over again”. He describes the former First Mayor of Hamburg (2011-2018) as a “painfully shy person” who would reveal very little of their inner workings.

Kevin Kühnert at Markus Lanz on ZDF: Scholz is not one “from whom it gushes out”

Kühnert adds to this impression with Markus Lanz in a funny way: Scholz is “not someone who gushes out”. In contrast to the motto of most other politicians: “Thank you for the question. I would like to answer three others, in order to then tell a story about life beforehand. ”Ulrike Herrmann, the ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his close confidante at the time, the current Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, through the implementation of the ruthless and unjust Hartz reforms in retrospect accuses “the division of the country”, exempts Scholz from this accusation and, at Lanz’s request, is allowed to advance the mystification: “You don’t know who Olaf Scholz is”. And he certainly couldn’t “small talk”. Your Chancellor – the unknown being.

ZDF presenter Markus Lanz continues to tease Scholz: “Nothing falls out of him that could be dangerous for him.” This is confirmed by his biographer Haider: “He will be even more careful now.” Compared to his time as Secretary General in the early 2000s -Years he was “an entertainer today”. According to Haider, Scholz has long had the art of answering questions without defining the content in his repertoire: “Olaf Scholz protected Gerhard Schröder” when he was given the unflattering nickname “Scholzomat” and understood his work as a “bulwark” – a striking parallel between the former and the current Secretary General. What clearly impresses Haider is the fact that Scholz would have put away both the G-20 debacle and the unsuccessful candidacy for the SPD chairmanship without long-term damage. His conclusion in view of the federal election he won is: “If in doubt, setbacks make you stronger.”

Then the two brothers in spirit that evening – Haider and Lanz – agree that Kühnert would have been Olaf Scholz’s “toughest opponent” for a long time, even before Markus Söder from the CSU, who was constantly on the “attack department”. This has obviously changed: Shortly before midnight, Kühnert Scholz defended against the favorite accusation of all journalists and political opponents that he wriggled out of every question instead of giving clear answers. The new SPD General Secretary Kühnert says of discussions with the new Chancellor: “I get very precise answers.” And when explaining his current political task, he is unexpectedly good: “My actions and actions are largely geared towards being successful in the Government office.”

Kevin Kühnert at Markus Lanz on ZDF: Positions are corrected

Wow, that looked very different for a long time: Kevin Kühnert was largely responsible for ensuring that Olaf Scholz did not become SPD party leader. For example, on November 30, 2019, the then Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his competitor Klara Geywitz failed in the SPD membership decision on the party chairmanship. The winner was the duo Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken, who – unlike the losing couple – wanted to get out of the grand coalition, which they blamed for the bad poll results for the Social Democrats at the time.

One who had campaigned for Esken and Walter-Borjans in front of and behind the scenes was Kühnert, who was the leader of the Jusos at the time. Yet the 32-year-old has been known to correct positions when it helps his career. In December, Lars Klingbeil was elected as co-federal chairman of the SPD alongside Saskia Esken, subject to confirmation by postal vote. On the other hand, Kühnert, whose buddy is Klingbeil, has of course nothing. Even if he is now on fair weather with Scholz, he maintains a mainly objective and distant relationship with the 63-year-old Chancellor: “I don’t know what makes Olaf Scholz tick, but that’s not so important for our cooperation either.” The beginning of a wonderful friendship looks different. (Marc Hairapetian)

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