The Federal Minister of the Interior wants to run as head of government in Hesse on the side - but stay in Berlin if she doesn't win the election. This harms their office, democracy and ultimately the SPD.
Politicians stick to their chairs. Politicians are obsessed with power and terribly vain. Politicians talk like this today and like that tomorrow. You know the prejudices, and in most cases they are not correct. Unfortunately, it is different with the Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser.
Ms. Faeser would like to become Prime Minister of the State of Hesse in the fall. The way there is paved with 15-hour working days, seven days a week, election campaigns are full-time or not at all. But Ms. Faeser already has a full-time job. She is interior minister of the world's fourth-largest economy, which is in the midst of a combined war and refugee crisis, which is also her responsibility. More people fled to Germany from Ukraine last year than at the height of the crisis in 2015/16.
On top of that there is a larger number of asylum seekers than in any year since 2016, a rapidly radicalizing Reich citizen scene, increasing violence against law enforcement officers and rescue workers and and and. Enough to do, you might think. In any case, more than can be done in addition to a top candidate in a non-city state like Hesse.
So the minister had to make a decision, but that would mean taking a risk. She would have to get up from one chair without knowing whether she could conquer the other and sit on it. But that's exactly what Ms. Faeser doesn't want: to take personal risks. She sticks to her chair - at least until she has someone else for sure.
Ms. Faeser told the "Spiegel" that there would be no real election campaign in Hesse in such times of crisis, so the double burden wasn't so bad. She can't mean that seriously, the opposite is true: Especially in times of crisis like this, as many voters as possible should be able to get a personal impression of the candidate. Also in Hesse.
Incidentally, the interior minister only wants to go to Hesse if she becomes head of government there. That means: She stands for election, but she only accepts the result if she likes it. If she doesn't win, she wants to remain federal minister in Berlin, because that's where she has more power and the limelight. So simple, so vain. And so little democratic, to be precise. Because democracy also needs decent losers, because they have a thankless but immensely important role to play in the opposition. It must embody the essence of democracy in everyday detail: the always-available alternative. Ms. Faeser doesn't want to do that. She had previously been leader of the opposition in Hesse, she says. Or to put it plainly: I'm too good for myself for a second time.
And yes, there have been such cases in all parties in the past, including the CDU and CSU. Some differ too much to derive anything from them, some behaved exactly like Ms. Faeser at the time. But that's why you don't have to continue doing it just as wrongly in the present and for all future. Ms. Faeser wants to play the game by her own rules, and the chancellor and the SPD leadership let her. They are causing more damage than an election victory in Hesse can do them any good.