Franziska Giffey does not want to. The Federal Minister for Family Affairs has informed her party that she does not want to run for the SPD presidency, said acting SPD chairman Malu Dreyer on Thursday. The reason: the plagiarism allegations with which Giffey sees itself confronted. Freie Universität Berlin is currently examining whether it can keep its doctoral degree. It is still unclear when a decision is made and how it turns out. She did not want the procedure to burden the reorganization of the SPD, Giffey said. Should her doctorate be revoked, she also wanted to resign as family minister.
That's a big blow for the SPD. Giffey is one of the few hopefuls the party still has. The former district mayor of Berlin's problem district Neukölln has surprisingly quickly got into her job as a family minister. And she knew how to use it: more money to improve the quality of day-care centers, more money for families, especially for the poorer - Giffey has implemented in the grand coalition despite all the crises a lot of ursozialdemokratischer politics. And she did it that way, too.
A lot of blasphemy has been made about their own way of providing laws with nice-sounding names such as the Good-Kita or Strong-Family Laws. But meanwhile this is eagerly copied by counterparts like Horst Seehofer (Orderly Return Law) or Hubertus Heil (Labor-of-tomorrow's Law). At least the right approach is to talk that way, that people understand it. But not only that, Giffey brings with it something else that the SPD desperately needs: a sense of reality on the one hand, unwavering optimism on the other. And the world she makes politics for is not that of the high-earning urban intellectuals, but of middle-income and small-income people, and in case of doubt, no university degree
Pragmatic, reasonable, solution-oriented
In this way, Giffey embodies a kind of brand essence of the SPD, which threatens to be endangered in view of the current disintegration in the party: it is pragmatic, reasonable, solution-oriented. Just asking for expropriation, as the last Juso CEO Kevin Kühnert did, is not her thing. In addition, she also gets on well with the people with her friendly, kind way. She would have been a good candidate for the SPD presidency.
If she renounces this opportunity, simply because her doctoral thesis is theoretically possible, she will grant the plagiarism hunters too much power. Whether someone is a good politician or a good politician does not depend on the doctorate. Years ago worked sloppily scientifically? Yes, that is embarrassing. If the university justifies the withdrawal by deliberately cheating, it is a grave mistake. You have to apologize and the title is gone.
But to resign from a ministerial office, to renounce a party presidency is not inevitable. This may be different if, like Annette Schavan, you are Minister of Science or how Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg reacts very arrogantly to the allegations. If this is not the case, however, a disqualified doctorate does not have to be the end of the political career. The public should learn again that politicians and politicians can be blamed for mistakes if they genuinely regret them and if they are not too closely linked to political office. There are just too few political talents for so much moral rigor.