There are spontaneous situations in politics in which the official aloofness of top personnel suddenly breaks down. The Germans experienced this with Angela Merkel in her first year in office, when she burst into enthusiastic goal celebrations in the stands at the 2006 World Cup after the 1-0 win against Poland. It was a first moment of emotional togetherness in the relationship between citizens and their relatively new chancellor, which was still characterized by a skeptical distance on both sides.

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That’s how Scholz feels now – albeit later and much more painfully – with his injury and the pirate armband. One of the Chancellor’s abilities, which was repeatedly criticized as extremely underdeveloped in the first year and a half of his term in office, made a decisive contribution to this: communication. Instead of waiting for the inevitable snapshots during public appearances and thus giving up “message control,” Scholz and his advisors decided to take matters into their own hands.

In the foyer of the Chancellery, they had the Chancellor photographed in a casual pose with a blindfold and a slight grin. Then they published the picture, accompanied by an appeal in which the chancellor, half resigned, half encouraging, submitted to the inevitability of all-encompassing commentary.

In this case, Scholz’s often mask-like, often impenetrable face took on human-friendly features, albeit with bloody scratches. Of all people, the Chancellor, with his often automatic language, overcame the distance between office and citizens with just one picture and a few words. “Respect, Chancellor,” was the headline in the “Bild” newspaper.

On the one hand, Scholz’ injury hits him at a particularly unfavorable moment. The polls for him and his coalition are in the basement, dissatisfaction in the country is great. The chancellor has to live with walking around with his face battered like his own political caricature. On the other hand, injury and blindfolds offer him the opportunity to present two character traits that have largely been lost in his public appearance: humor and self-mockery. On Monday evening at the festival of the SPD newspaper “Vorwarts”, he allowed himself to be examined on stage with a patient smile. On Tuesday, he opened his speech at the International Motor Show in Munich (IAA) with the words: “The weekend showed me once again personally: As nice as jogging is, for some routes it’s better to take the car.”

Will the new view of himself also benefit him as Chancellor? On Wednesday, Scholz repeatedly sought proximity to citizens, at least rhetorically, in order to promote his idea of ​​a Germany pact. It is no longer possible to explain to them why many things in Germany are taking too long and why politicians are not taking action quickly and thoroughly enough. The state and its offerings must function, and Scholz now wants to cooperate more closely with states and municipalities to achieve this.

It is an attempt in an awkward position. With his proposal, Scholz responds to the bad mood in the country, but also to the dwindling confidence in his chancellorship. The sympathy from the past few days could help him to slow down this decline. Then, contrary to current trends, it could even be the case that he gets off with a black eye in the federal elections – but then purely politically.