It was a news piece not covered by the primary news organizations in Germany. Roughly two weeks ago....a meeting was held down in Bavaria.
The Christian Social Union (CSU) is the sister political party to Merkel's CDU. Roughly eight years ago, they had this guy who'd quietly made his way up through the Bavarian political party and was probably one of the more dynamic political figures on the landscape of Germany. Most figured that he'd take over for Merkel back in 2013. The guy was Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.
Guttenberg ran into this unique problem.....he wrote a thesis for a degree, and he used bits of pieces of items without acknowledging it. No one ever asked who brought this up or how the topic came to be worth investigating....but in German circles....it's a disgraceful thing to be accused of writing material and not acknowledging who the source was.
So Guttenberg gave up on his political career....packed up and left Germany. He's been in the US for six years....mostly serving for a foundation and acting as an analyst. Quietly, he will fly into Germany occasionally and be an expert that Merkel or members of the CDU/CSU can draw upon for expert advice.
I've probably watched at least forty interviews or chat forums with Guttenberg, and have to admit....if you wrote up a list of 1,000 chat subjects....to even include diesel cars, the use of chemical additives in cigarettes, or the list of problems with pension reform, then Guttenberg is the only man alive who can talk to the whole list of a thousand topics. He is impressive.
So this meeting from two weeks ago? Well....Guttenberg was there and chatted with CSU's Seehofer (the party boss). Guttenberg wants to test the waters.
This years election might be the place to start. So Seehofer has given Guttenberg seven districts in Bavaria where he's supposed to come out....give speeches and represent the CSU Party. If there is any heavy criticism or problems.....Guttenberg will quietly leave.
My guess is that Guttenberg will get some heavy-handed criticism from state-run/public TV (ARD and ZDF), but most of the newspapers will focus on his comments at these political speeches....rather than chat over something from 2010 and the thesis episode.
The CSU is in a fairly favorable position within Bavaria....figuring 3.5 million votes (at least from the 2013 election).
The thing is that Guttenberg's speeches and pep talk will be used as a national forum. What he says....will attract attention and draw some CDU views.
If this comeback was somewhat successful (even if Merkel loses in September)? Then some reintroduction of Guttenberg into the CSU apparatus would occur in the spring of 2018. Several individuals who've been gearing themselves to succeed Seehofer won't be happy over this. But I suspect that this will be the gameplan. Seehofer will retire in the spring of 2018, and Guttenberg might be the solution for the party.
Four years of Schulz, the Linke Party and the Greens as the government....while the CSU uses Guttenberg as their device for the 2021 election? Yes, that's my assessment. All of this is simply laying out the future without Merkel and the dismal collection of characters that the CDU has in the next five years to replace her.