Yep, a one year election campaign may hurt you but this is a blow right from the start. SPD's frontrunner, Peer Steinbrueck, recently announced by the federal party chief, Sigmar "Arch Angel" Gabriel, as their 'candidate for becoming the next German Chancellor', has been making his financial "strip-tease", eh, "moonlighting income transparency" without anticipating this popular setback at the polls.
Making some 1.25 million euros ($1.6 m) with speeches normally charged with 15k euros per speech, (plus around 600k euros as royalties from his book), shows a left-of-center "big earner" to the public whose parliamentary job income as MoP plus former Federal Minister and former NRW governor pensions are peanuts in comparison to his 'moonlighting activities'. A lot of left-wing comrades of his own party have real problems with an income-millionaire who, by law, has to give away half of his income to the German revenue service ("Finanzamt"). The Steinbrueck "glasnost on side-income" approach has obviously backfired - not only in terms of Social-Democratic voters but also in the general public.
The recently made polls indicate that this SPD candidate has been heading to drown as lead duck wheras Ms. Angela Merkel gets her best results ever within her current legislative period to end next fall.
Of course, Mr. Steinbrueck is now campaigning against the so-called politically and publicly anticipated "greed factor" that he would like to reduce to an "envy factor".
Well, he has been a political Social-Democratic heavyweight, an outspoken hardliner in terms of implementing austerity measures for years. He is a financial expert who made his dent toward the Swiss and Liechtenstein governments in terms of squeezing money from German tax evaders who had used the bank secrecy laws of those countries to hide their assets from the German treasury.
It is the "preaching water" and "sipping champagne" issue of his that has been pissing off the prospective voters and make them wary of this candidate.
I have nothing against his making money. But, it seems very easy to get commercial assignments for some 15k euro speeches that will probably last less than 90 mins, and this is possible besides a "full-time job" as 'responsible' representative for the people.
We should be glad that this big earner shows his income to the public. Publishing this in Germany is quite unusual, Steinbrueck almost publishes his tax return, wow - showing that he is paying his share to the treasury. Why should we be offended by this approach? Btw, his party will benefit from his dilligence as professional speech-giver and financial expert 'cos the party contributions from 'big earners' are crucial for the election 'war chest' as well.