It had to happen...although I had hoped that it would not. The sleazier of the German political parties are taking lessons from the US and employing character assassination. This happens in desperation and when unable to produce convincing ideas.
Attacks on personality and personal life have rarely been a feature of German politics or even raised their ugly head. Egregious conduct might be punished by silence, banishment to an obscure party post in the provinces, or some lucrative job in the private sector...and always a comfortable retirement package, compliments of taxpayers.
That has all changed with the recent aggressive attacks on the Minister of Defense, Dr. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. He belongs to the ruling Christian Democrat party (here, conservatives are the good guys). His crime is being intelligent, good-looking, from a good family, and popular (not unlike JFK: my description). Although Hitler's caper managed to eradicate aristocratic privilege and most wealth, old family names still linger, which is also held against the poor guy.
The opposition, few of which are intelligent, well-educated, or attractive, has picked up on a minor infraction young Teddy made in writing his doctoral thesis: he missed a few quotation marks and footnotes. BFD. Unfortunately, crime is in the eye of the beholder and a doctor title is holy in this country. Listening to commentators, one would think that he had raped a child...which ranks only slightly higher in severity than manipulating a doctor title.
German politics used to be (mainly) about issues. If one chose, one could hear or read about serious debates on important matters. I regret to see another US import making inroads and sullying the quality of life.
As always, there is a deeper cause to the attacks. His crime: being the most popular politician with voters (inside and outside his party). It's an ego thing with stupid, unattractive, unpopular opposition politicians. They hope that mud-slinging will make him less attractive to voters and hurt his party's chances in forthcoming elections.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.