Why don't many Liberals own trucks?
The Liberals in Brandenburg have put up the slogan “No sow needs the FDP”. Is the desperation so great already?
Konstantin Kuhle: I was also scared at first. But the point of this campaign is to be shaken up. The Brandenburg FDP does not have such good polls. So I found it refreshing that she tried something new.
Let's be honest: Did the FDP just sell wrong - or was it kicked out of the Bundestag because of its program?
Cool: Both. In terms of content, we focused too one-sidedly on tax cuts - and were so unrealistic that we were far too unable to enforce them. Other issues like civil rights have been pushed too far into the background.
Which brings us to the self-expression.
Cool: If you represent the FDP at panel discussions, you notice that people already assume in advance that the liberal is the most unsympathetic representative on the panel, and are surprised when it is different. That shows: Just because you are in favor of the market economy, you are far from being a pig.
Why is the image so bad?
Cool: For many liberals there is a contradiction between the idea of man and communication. Actually, we are the ones who most trust people. We say: The state cannot do that as well as you. But if you come across as an elitist and know-it-all liberal, that contradicts your own image of man 100 percent.
Cool: We need to have a new discourse with social allies. Why is the FDP unable to discuss common issues with unions? If you place the ideas of the IG Bergbau, Chemie und Energie next to the FDP's program of the energy transition and industrial policy, you will find surprising parallels. We need this openness to the outside world.
There is also a lack of internal stability. The FDP chairmanship is an ejection seat.
Cool: Terrible, isn't it? The FDP lacks a realistic approach to its own leadership. At some point Guido Westerwelle was too loud for many. But when we made the rather quiet Philipp Rösler head of the party, many of them quickly stopped working. We have to get more professional. Take the SPD, for example. What bad things have been said about Sigmar Gabriel in the past? But when he became chairman, the party rallied behind him. And the SPD - unlike us - quickly implemented several of its promises in the government.
Does Christian Lindner get a few years time now? What kind of debate will he face if he does not catch up with the alternative for Germany?
Cool: He needs the time, no one should expect quick miracles. The FDP is losing more voters to the SPD than to the AfD. We lose most of all to the CDU. I am against running after the AfD. When we get close to that, people prefer to choose the original.
Were you surprised at how much malice pelted the FDP last year?
Cool: No. And that's because we often enough treated our political opponents with a similar level of malice. In the federal election campaign, liberals at the forefront were too busy hitting the Greens in the debates about Veggie Day and pedophilia instead of talking about their own issues. The result was a bad result for the Greens - but an even worse one for the FDP.
The interview was conducted by Thorsten Keller and Tobias Peter
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