Guttenberg Plays Hard to Get

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Guttenberg Plays Hard to Get

In a classic display of gentlemanly restraint, the baron avoids any impression of a desire to rush back to politics.

You have to hand it to the aristocratic Karl Theodore zu Guttenberg. He’s one cool customer.

In response to Horst Seehofer’s publicly expressed wish to invite him back into active politics at high level, Guttenberg—demonstrating the very opposite of the brashness of youth that one might expect from a person his age—wrote his party a letter conveying contrition for past sins and denoting no real desire to reengage in German politics at this time, while at the same time indicating that he is firmly in charge of his own destiny. Guttenberg will call his own tune in terms of his future.

It’s a masterstroke of political genius.

On October 20, Suddeutsche published a copy of the letter, which begins:

I have in personal talks told our Party Chairman Horst Seehofer and the csu district chairman of my previous federal electoral district Kulmbach, that I will not apply in the year 2013 for a political mandate.It is not the right time. And I have to learn from my mistakes.Not each of my reactions and statements last year, that I felt as extreme, was wise. Looking back also during my last appearance in Germany, although it was not my intention, it appeared to many that I was staging a comeback.Also from this, I have my lessons and consequences to consider. However, this requires time and distance.The phase of the recovery from transgressions of one’s own fault, and my personal reorientation, involve also a necessary retreat from the light of the German public.So I will have to withdraw, unfortunately, from invitations for appearances at public events in Germany or existing commitments in the long term.

In one stroke, Guttenberg took the wind out of his opponents’ sails by the free admission of guilt to their charges, and at the same time expressed his desire to take time to demonstrate he has learned profound lessons from his fall from grace. By exercising restraint, he heightened the tension over the expressed desire of his supporters to see him return to the political fray at a time when Germany desperately needs a spark of real, decisive political leadership.

The result—as Germany continues to experience the politics of a dislocated Merkel coalition government before the 2013 federal elections—will inevitably be increasing clamor to bring back into the front line the man who was once the most popular of politicians in the Fatherland.

It’s a classic case of playing hard to get, and serves to heighten the prospect of Guttenberg being invited back, rather than being elected, to future high office in Germany. Perhaps even being flattered with an offer that he simply will not be able to refuse (Daniel 11:21).

It’s even more of a reason to continue to watch Baron Guttenberg closely in the months preceding German elections of next September.