Charlotte Merz's show at the CDU party conference last weekend continues to cause a stir. All she did was prevent anything worse from happening.

Charlotte and Friedrich Merz

Congratulations without complications: Charlotte and Friedrich Merz at the CDU party conference after Friedrich's election as president Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa

Four bodyguards, a wife and a certain Daniel Günther: those are the people Friedrich Merz needs to protect himself from a journalist's critical questions. What seems like the joke of a stupid joke actually happened last weekend.

When the “heute show” journalist Lutz van der Horst asks the CDU president about the “leading culture”, he is not only protected by his bodyguards, but also by his wife Charlotte. The scene is strange: she imposes herself on the journalist, snatches the microphone from his hand and answers the question that was actually addressed to her husband. “Leading a culture means first asking if you want to give an answer,” she blurts into the microphone. The media response to the action was excellent in the following days and there was generally great outrage. And now the German Association of Journalists also strongly condemns the “outrage”.

But honestly, we should be grateful to Charlotte Merz. Because the questions about “leading culture” that are addressed to Friedrich Merz can only be followed by populist and exclusionary answers. As a reminder: Merz spread rumors about refugees who had their teeth redone for fun, she spoke of “little pashas” who threatened our dominant culture, and she accused Ukrainian war refugees of “social tourism.”

It is an honor for Charlotte Merz to have freed her busy husband Friedrich from the burden of the expected response. Furthermore, the slight unease left by Charlotte Merz's action distracts at least a little from the idea that the next Chancellor could be called Friedrich Merz, as his re-election as president at the CDU party conference underlined.

Softer real image

The Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, also replaced Friedrich Merz. To the journalist's question about why the issue of the dominant culture in the CDU is raised again and again, he responded coldly and sincerely: “Because we can't think of anything else, that Günther has no problem answering questions.” of a journalist”. The questions are what sets it apart. He contrasts with Merz. So is there a danger for the potential CDU chancellor candidate?

Charlotte Merz is an all-rounder who can outshine her husband's weaknesses. She not only works as a title boxer, but also as an image softener.. At the end of April he gave the BILD on Sunday an interview. In it she portrays her husband as a loving grandfather and husband: a funny idea that at first glance does not correspond to that of the impulsive and agitated leader of the CDU.

What seems more like irrelevant jokes could be decisive for Friedrich Merz, because his personal popularity ratings are consistently low, especially among young people and women. The idea that Friedrich Merz caught the attention of his wife the first time they met, as she said – no joke – in an interview with Bam excited, makes Merz seem almost human. A true quality for a possible future chancellor that other potential candidates have so far mastered better.

Charlotte and Friedrich Merz hugging

United in the ring: Charlotte and Friedrich Merz Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa

Furthermore, Charlotte Merz could play the role of a kind of “First Lady”, a position that is approached with considerable caution in Germany (who was Britta Ernst again?). Charlotte Merz has radiated something iconic from her body-to-body performance; she has become a public figure, even a meme.

But with all the praise for Charlotte Merz, we must not forget that the cause also has serious undertones. Although Van der Horst wears adilettes and asks cheeky questions, like every journalist, he deserves an answer instead of being patronized.

In any case, this remains the dominant culture in Germany to this day.

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