And this is exactly what Angela Merkel is about to do in the upcoming German federal elections .
For other politicians with a similar death wish, here's a DIY guide:
- Tell the country in a loud voice that you're going to increase taxes (VAT on non-food items by 2 percentage points while saying at the same time in a whisper that you're reducing payroll deductions in another area).
- Don't provide examples of what the net benefit is going to be to the unmarried/married no kids/ married with kids/single parent tax constellations. (If you're reading this, Angie, this is how you do it properly)
- Show the country that you're as confused as the next person when it comes to difference between gross and net (as in "We'll cut gross salaries by 1%" instead of "we'll increase take-home pay by 1%). Quite understandable - it's a mistake I'm sure we all make much of the time.
- Front up with a wimpish campaign slogan, like "Use Germany's chance"
- Don't stress to the voters that the current government has done bugger-all in the last 7 years and that their election campaign is full of stuff that they're promising to do in the coming 4. (If they're such good ideas, why only now, folks?)
- Oh yes, and have one of your chaps at senior level in a state government consign all of Eastern Germany to the same moral strata as the woman recently accused of murdering 9 of her 13 children at birth and burying them in flower pots.
This is the way to go from close to 50% in June to almost 40% (and sinking) in August. Coupled with the fact that the liberal FDP - the traditional coalition partner - is perceived as being irrelevant at 7% and the new Loony Left (sorry, the Left Party, a cesspit of disenchanted Marxists, East German ex-communists and sundry other malcontents) is at 12%, Merkel's CDU won't have a working majority in parliament. And don't believe the denials emanating from Schröder's SPD that they would "never contemplate a coalition with the Loony Left together with their current Green party mates. If he can stay in power by doing it, he will.
Who said "A country gets the politicians it deserves"?