German Finance Minister Tries Makeover with New Rap Persona | From the Fringe | DW | 31.03.2008
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From the Fringe

German Finance Minister Tries Makeover with New Rap Persona

In an attempt to sex-up the finance ministry and show the human face behind the numbers and stuffy suits, Germany's top accountant is "getting down with his homies."

Germany's Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck

Peer Steinbrueck: Put your hands in the air...and wave them like you just don't care

When it comes to professions in drastic need of an image makeover, politicians must be quite high on the list. Their public personas range from stuffy and boring civil servants to lying cheats and messianic warmongers.

Putting a likeable human face to the job is often one of the hardest tasks a politician will come up against.

Of all the jobs in politics, few suffer as badly as the finance minister. Often described as the country's top accountant -- a kiss of death if ever there was one -- finance ministers lack the globe-trotting, war-zone-visiting sexiness of the foreign ministry portfolio or the mad-eyed thirst for power and control that defense and interior ministers tend to acquire. If the generic title of politician is inherently boring, then minister of finance equates to "dull as dishwater."

What is a poor primo number-cruncher to do? Taking a leaf from his dashing and surprisingly adept colleague Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck has decided to try and revamp his image by embracing music.

And while Foreign Minister Steinmeier played safe with a middle-of-the-road rock song for his much publicized duet with his French counterpart, Bernard Koucher, Steinbrueck has really taken the plunge into uncharted waters by attempting that most difficult and potentially cringe-worthy genre known to doughy white males -- rap.

Peer goes off the deep end

Peer Steinbrueck addresses the Bundestag

Peerizzle Steinbrizzle bigs up the Bundestag

Much like watching your dad trying to dance to Nirvana at a wedding reception, a balding middle-aged politician attempting to "get hip" with his Hugo Boss suit trousers at half-mast and an ill-advised baseball cap on at a jaunty angle is akin to being flayed alive.

However, Steinbrueck -- or "RapPeer der Nation" as he is excruciatingly called in his online video performance -- seems to have taken heart from the kudos afforded former George W. Bush aide Karl Rove after his own painful attempt at urban cool.

Despite Rove's eventual and spectacular fall from grace soon after his rapping performance at last year's White House Correspondents Association dinner, the show he put on distracted the public from his use of the political black arts and his manipulation and exploitation of innocents. For a short time, Rove once again walked in the glow of public adoration.

If it worked for Karl Rove...

Former top political adviser to President Bush, Karl Rove

Karl Rove: Yo!

While Steinbrueck has nothing so shocking to distract his public from, he does seem to be hoping to get more than a few "shout-outs" of his own for his performance of "I Love Cash" and the fact that his ministry is forecasting no ill effects from the recent global financial crisis on the German economy.

Depending on how RapPeer's parallel career in the music industry goes, other German politicians may look to join the craze in an attempt to bury a few of their own bodies.

Take Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble for instance. A no-nonsense kinda guy who has been advocating tougher security measures ever since he took the job, Schaeuble could do with his edges being smoothed out a bit at the best of times.

Stay tuned for super-soul Schaeuble

A man hold up a piece of paper with a fingerprint of Wolfgang Schaeuble

Schaeuble's fingerprint doesn't look that special

But if ever he was looking for a distraction, now would be the right time to branch out. After hammering home the message that fingerprinting is the way towards a safer and more secure future, the interior minister might consider releasing a single in the next few days to cover up the fact that hackers have somehow managed to get past all his security policies to steal records of his own dabs.

While his fingerprints are loose in the world, Schaeuble would be wise to look into a musical tactic to eclipse the irony of the whole affair. Maybe a soulful cover of "Your Secret's Safe With Me" by Robert Cray or a rockin' rendition of Anthrax's "I am the Law."

It would probably be a good idea, though, to stay clear of Barbra Streisand's "What Kind of Fool" …

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