Germany has a new Trade and Industry Minister and quite a noble one at that: Karl-Theodor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg.
Or to be more precise: Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg. A name which may or may not make Angela Dorothea Merkel envious.
But how about the SPD’s candidate for the chancellorship, Frank
-Walter Steinmeier. Well, here somebody in the SPD decided that Walter was overdoing it and simply renamed the Foreign Minister Frank Steinmeier. Where was the problem? Frankfurter Allgemeine gives us alternative explanations – the … er … other German state once had a leader named Walter (well, so did the FRG), there could be associations to the Walther handguns. Etc, etc.
It is probably a good thing that Herr Steinmeier isn’t Danish as the name holds slightly comic connotations here: Case #1, Case #2. Still, rebranding politicians is a potentially dangerous business and carries the risk of ridicule. Just ask Mogens Lykketoft who mysteriously lost not only his trademark Lev Trotsky-goatee but also his glasses during the 2005 election campaign.
Oh, and the Freiherr is cool about being called Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, by the way.