New health minister: Lauterbach now has to get out of panic mode

With reference to surveys, Olaf Scholz has chosen Karl Lauterbach as Minister of Health. A brave choice. The Spahn successor is technically experienced. Now he just has to learn not to stop in front of every camera and warn of the apocalypse.

Anyone who still has doubts about the strategic abilities of near-chancellor Olaf Scholz and near-SPD leader Lars Klingbeil should reconsider. On Monday, both of them worked together to show how clever they are. Even on Friday, perhaps the CDU chairman, Friedrich Merz, tweeted that in the traffic light coalition, “competence apparently hardly plays a role anymore, only gender”. That Karl Lauterbach “as the face of SPD health policy does not become a minister just because his name is not Karoline is absurd”.

Now Merz has been refuted. Scholz can even claim that he does not tick the way the Union suggests, that he is very pragmatic and that he follows the will of the majority of the population. On the contrary, it now looks like the future head of government has built his cabinet around Lauterbach. This is one of the reasons why Scholz celebrated the announcement of his team in the style of presenting a team for a TV game show: “Most citizens” would have “wished that the next health minister would be a specialist who can do this really well and that he be Karl Lauterbach is called. It will be! ”

Klingbeil immediately responded to any speculations about hitting and stabbing in the division of responsibilities with the comment: “There was no other candidate than Karl Lauterbach for the post of Minister of Health. We had been in agreement on this for a long time. But Karl Lauterbach only got the decisive call got yesterday. ” That sounded like a swipe at the chosen one, who is known for his vanity: You chat too much, that’s why you were only informed shortly before the end of the day.

Lauterbach constantly overshoots the target

Scholz’s decision is courageous, also clever and mischievous. If Lauterbach hadn’t become Minister of Health, the first breakdown would have said: It wouldn’t have happened to Lauterbach. As it is, however, the prospective chancellor gives the post to a specialist politician who understands the highly complex health system. At the same time, he involves him in the cabinet, so he can control Lauterbach and, if necessary, take it on board, which is urgently necessary in order not to endanger the success of the traffic light. Because Lauterbach just talks too much in public.

At the presentation of Lauterbach as Minister of the Population and the Nursing Staff, Scholz made an important promise. The government wants to eliminate the “weaknesses and difficulties” in the health system. He gave “first priority” to better working conditions for nurses. Lauterbach went even further. “With us there will be no cutbacks in benefits. On the contrary: the healthcare system will become more robust with us.” Then he will hopefully have a feasible idea of ​​how he will finance it.

The 58-year-old is highly motivated. That speaks for him. But this is also a danger for Scholz, the traffic lights and society as a whole. Lauterbach constantly overshoots the mark, his alarmism, his constant warnings and black markings are extremely annoying. Above all, it is his eternal pessimism that does not help calm down. Lauterbach manages to paint even gloomy forecasts even blacker. When he was introduced as minister, he said to all those who still haven’t got it: “The pandemic will last longer than many think.” He added: “But we will do it.” But the emphasis is always on the negative.

Lauterbach has to put an end to that. Fortunately, due to lack of time, he will no longer be able to give five interviews every day. As a minister, he also gets a new mobile phone number, which he hopefully won’t give out to every journalist who asks him. His communications department has to stop him. Surveys confirm the statements made by Scholz that most of them would have liked Lauterbach as health minister. But not many others. You sharply criticize the Social Democrats for simply not wanting to turn off the alarm button.

His predecessor couldn’t keep his promises

In the SPD there was resistance to Lauterbach because he was not trusted to lead a ministry. Scholz obviously sees it differently. Lauterbach’s predecessor, Jens Spahn, is the best example of how you lose a high reputation if you can’t keep still. Too often the CDU politician has dug a pit with his eternal announcements, into which he promptly fell. His promises were too seldom discussed with Chancellor Angela Merkel, he had to revise them, collect them and thus contributed to the uncertainty. Lauterbach is not stupid, he knows that. Recently he has controlled himself and has not announced the apocalypse every hour on Twitter or in interviews.

As Lauterbach himself says, the pandemic is not over yet. Therefore he has to get out of panic mode immediately. The social democrat must weigh his words, must not stir up fears, but must woo the trust of all those who doubt the meaning of the vaccination. If, as before, he constantly formulates worst-case scenarios that – for whatever reason – do not materialize, he loses credibility and fails in office. Lauterbach must know: If he endangers social peace, Scholz will fire him.

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