Robert Habeck with Sandra Maischberger. The tenor today in the offices of the nation and on social networks is: “What was that?” Reason enough for a rhetoric analysis.

From a rhetoric point of view, Habeck’s performance was his weakest half hour and proof that even the most positive framing eventually reaches its limits. Overall, he seemed nervous, attacked and – except for the final formula – lacked any security.

In such an overall situation, not even the most positive framing can save anything: “It will be a hard winter… There will be unreasonable demands” – the problem with these euphemisms is that the public is now very aware of the importance of these unreasonable demands.

The first gas bills start rolling in and they’re so high that… well, there’s just no money left to pay the bills. Winter is going to be really, really hard for a lot of people. For these people, a “hard winter” is no longer just an empty phrase. Euphemisms quickly become provocations.

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Apart from all the outrage on the network, however, it must also be said that he was able to argue coherently and defend his position professionally, especially on the question of whether two nuclear power plants should remain connected to the grid for the agreed term. Here he was solid.

Then there are the concerns of medium-sized companies: In the case of Corona, politicians have decided to assume all the costs. That would have been extremely expensive. This political decision, which certainly meant covering all costs for everyone, has not yet been made.

On the other hand, the decision to assume the costs for those companies that are in international competition, “thus losing their production because they cannot pass on their costs,” was liked. But the baker on the corner can’t do that either. Because out of solidarity, nobody buys a roll for one euro.

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Especially not when he is faced with the decision to heat up or to buy rolls from the discounter. If any. Programs are currently being drawn up for small and medium-sized businesses. Good news actually. And the fact that these programs should be targeted and not based on the watering can principle, which was heavily abused during Corona, is actually even better news for all citizens and for all medium-sized companies.

Martin Ehlers is a specialist in lung and bronchial medicine and allergology. In addition to his own practice, he heads the Clinical Respiratory Research study center in Hamburg, which researches and develops new treatment methods for people with lung diseases. For many years he supported the German Swimming Federation and the Olympic training center in Hamburg with medical advice.

Why didn’t this answer to the simple question: “Are you abandoning the middle class?”? Habeck simply radiated far too much uncertainty. Even the “No” with which Habeck opened his answer, he mumbled half.

Not a good start to this important phase. He explains that the energy price reduction programs are now also to be opened up to small and medium-sized enterprises. The programs would now be developed. From the point of view of the rhetorician, this should have been the end. “No! We will not let medium-sized companies down, but are currently opening the energy price reduction programs”. Point.

But Habeck didn’t think this message was good enough. He explains at length the details of why you have to look so closely at these companies in particular. Proportionate energy costs, raw material costs… complicated, complicated. And again and again the look to the side, which expresses, “I don’t dare to look you in the face.”

This facial expression makes us just as suspicious as the posture: Habeck sits bent over, but not to face the other person, but to make himself small, his shoulders sagging, almost appearing rolled up. Underpinned by his foot, which repeatedly hooks into the other. Someone is struggling for safety here.

And then came the blackout that pessimists and political opponents actually only expected for the winter: a classic rhetorical blackout. According to the economics minister, companies do not go bankrupt, they just stop working.

They’re not broke, they just stop producing and selling. “I don’t expect a wave of bankruptcies. I can imagine that certain industries will stop producing for a while. Don’t go bankrupt, but…” Habeck also admitted that she had to go bankrupt in the end – his subsequent “If we don’t remedy the situation” went completely unnoticed.

My impression is that Habeck got so lost in the details that he almost got lost himself in the end. So far we only knew that from Edmund Stoiber and it always happened to the Bavarian (10 minutes… – you remember?) when he got lost in the details.

It honors Habeck that he wants to take his audience with him and explain his politics. But this wasn’t an economic committee, it was a talk show and less would have been more.

This appearance shows how much effect a confident charisma can have. I had to think of two politicians from the past. How would Helmut Kohl have sat in such a group and simply let criticism roll off? Even Gerhard Schröder, who had rightly fallen out of favor, would have looked down at his critics with a thick skin and explained the main line.

Habeck, on the other hand, was definitely not in his midst. It’s bad at this stage. People need people in charge to give them the impression that they are confident in what they are doing. That gives them security. That leaves her to do her things in peace.

The feeling that the boss or the government has things under control. Communicate a new style of politics and more at eye level? Yes. This brings Habeck great popularity ratings. Unsure and unprepared to face the public? no

Habeck was not with himself. He didn’t deliver his message but reacted far too strongly to his counterpart and became fickle in his statements.