Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer failed, first of all in herself. Unsuccessful toilet jokes, Rezo debacle, election defeats in the East. In the end, she fooled a small and rather insignificant national association and brutally showed her the limits of her assertiveness. Your announcement of withdrawal may be surprising at the time, but it is consistent.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer never really took a step in the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus. She had begun to reconcile the divided party on the one hand, and to maintain her polyphony on the other. However, at times when the CDU also lacked tolerance of other views, this attempt had to fail.
After her election, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had approached the conservatives in the party. But with a single sentence, namely that borders can also be closed in an emergency - actually a bulrush - she then also lost her own camp without even gaining a bit to the right.
It quickly became clear that Kramp-Karrenbauer was at best a temporary solution at the top of the CDU. She was a weak chairwoman, and given that, her retirement might come just in time for the next federal election, which will take place regularly in late 2021.
But Kramp-Karrenbauer's decision did not make it any easier for the CDU. The centrifugal forces tugging at every nook and corner of the party are no longer gone. The fundamental questions that this party has to ask are unanswered. The party, which was once a synonym for stability in the German party system, is currently eroding from bottom to top. The conflict right against left - including the question of how to deal with the AfD - describes very inadequately what is really going on in the party.
In the Thuringia question, she has lost strategic vision at all levels, as can only happen to parties who no longer know who they are or want to be.
At the top of the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus there is also a blindness to the conditions in the east. When Mike Mohring wanted to talk to the left after the election in Thuringia, the only thing from Berlin was: Out of the question. And when the regional association and parliamentary group in Thuringia pushed the taboo to break and elected a prime minister with the AfD, they either did so without suspecting the consequences - or they accepted it. Both would be dramatic evidence of poverty.
For 15 years, the CDU has relied on one argument in elections: that there is the Chancellor, it will judge. She didn't notice how quickly and fundamentally the political public changed. That is probably the much greater inheritance burden than the refugee summer of 2015.
And it could get worse: The leadership chaos that should finally break out after Kramp-Karrenbauer's departure could plunge the CDU into the abyss, just as it has already happened to the SPD. It is not certain that the CDU will not fare as well as its sister party in France, of which there is next to nothing left. Where milieus and other social ties erode, there is not much left that parties could end up in the event of an accident. The SPD has shown it. Certainties no longer exist.