Yes, there are more Gauck links and commentary behind the cut. Just skip if it doesn’t interest you:
My hometown paper Weser Kurier ran a semi-critical article about Gauck and his positions today.
Regular commenter Laran points out this post on the blog of the International University Karlshochschule in Karlsruhe, in which the author wonders whether some or all of Gauck’s problematic utterances have been taken out of context.
Writer and politician Jutta Ditfurth explains her issues with Gauck’s candidacy in Rote Fahne (Red Flag), the magazine of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany, a left splinter party which claims to pursue true Socialism (unlike all of the other left/Socialist parties). The magazine is not exactly an unbiased source for anything, but Jutta Ditfurth was a highly respected politician in the 1980s and founding member of the Green Party (which supports Gauck). She left in the 1990s, when the Green Party started deserting its original positions and began supporting wars and welfare cuts.
Deutsch-Türkische Nachrichten (German Turkish News – name says it all, really) has a very measured article about the reaction to the Gauck candidacy in the German Turkish community. The German Turkish community supported Christian Wulff, because Wulff called Islam a normal part of Germany and because he vehemently spoke out in support of the victims of a recently revealed Neo-Nazi terror group (turned out that this group had been murdering immigrants, among them several Turkish small business owners, for years and the authorities knew nothing and blamed the victims – Spiegel Online has plenty of articles about the whole nasty case). They are uncertain about Gauck, because he spoke out in support of Thilo Sarrazin (racist ex-politician who believes that muslim immigrants are destroying Germany) and remained silent on the subject of the Neo-Nazi murders and is from Rostock-Lichtenhagen, a hotbed of Neo-Nazi activities in East Germany (which doesn’t mean anything – plenty of people live in Lichtenhagen who are not Neo-Nazis). On the other hand Gauck is in favour of Turkey joining the European Union (which I for one didn’t know).
Regarding the 10 known victims of the Neo-Nazi terror group (mainly Turkish and Greek small business owners, but also a female police officer), Gauck has allegedly spoken out against the official memorial service for the victims, because they were all killed several years ago and therefore the time for a memorial is past. In contrast, the official memorial service was very important to former president Christian Wulff, so important that he explicitly expressed his regrets about not being able to attend the event and urged the government to go ahead with the service without him in his resignation statement.
According to the Katholische Nachrichten (Catholic News – name says it all… again) the Catholic church, at least as represented by the archbishop of Bamberg, is satisfied with the candidacy of the former Lutheran priest Gauck, because Gauck is in favour of the ethical and moral renewal of Germany, a goal for which the archbishop plans to pray. Now religious figures of any sort talking about “ethical and moral renewal” always makes me ill, because ethics and morals usually means repression of women and gays and a return to the dark days of the 1950s. But the comments are interesting, because plenty of the commenters have decided that Gauck does not measure up to their idea of a moral life, because he left but never divorced his first wife and has been cohabitating with his current partner for twelve years without either divorcing his wife or marrying the new partner. Now Gauck’s personal life is not an issue for me – if we only accepted longterm and happily married politicians, we would still be ruled by 90-something year old Helmut Schmidt, because none of the others measure up. But I know that Gauck’s personal life is a problem for many older people – it’s my mother’s main argument against him, for example.
Die Zeit, a politically moderate national paper, does list the various complaints against Gauck, but debunks them with “well, that only bothers those people over there” (Leftists, Occupy activists, the unemployed, hysterical internet freedom activists) and seems to rejoice in the fact Gauck will be an “uncomfortable president for citizens and parties” and a “conservative troublemaker”. Sorry, but I for one have had enough of uncomfortable conservative troublemakers. I couldn’t stand the last president who matched that profile either.
The Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, a regional paper from Halle in Sachsen-Anhalt in former East Germany, reports about the aborted non-representative internet poll on the website of the TV and radio network MDR. I linked to a screenshot in yesterday’s linkdump. The reason given by the MDR for taking down the poll is that they feared the poll had been manipulated. I suspect the reason for the unwanted result is far simpler. Some Gauck opponents noticed the poll and started tweeting and urging their followers the vote against Gauck, hence the No votes started to explode. Don’t underestimate the power of the internet.
The Nordbayerischer Kurier, a regional paper from Bayreuth in Bavaria, reports about a possible counter candidate against Gauck supported by the Pirate Party and potentially Left Party, namely comedian Georg Schramm. However, so far nobody knows whether Schramm, who is likely very baffled to find himself a potential head of state (I know I would be), actually wants the job. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Schramm was reluctant to accept the candidacy, particularly considering what happened to actor Peter Sodann who was the Left Party’s presidential candidate in 2009. Peter Sodann had planned to run for German parliament as a member of the Left Party in 2005 and withdrew his candidacy, when the TV network ARD (a public and license fee financed station like the BBC in Britain) threatened to suspend Sodann from his starring role in the non-political crime show Tatort, because a parliamentary candidate playing a cop on TV apparently constitutes an illegal political ad campaign. Interestingly, no one had any issues with politically active actors of other parties.