Recent disparaging remarks about former chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s dealings with Vladimir Putin and Gazprom made by US Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos have deeply offended German Social Democrats everywhere.

After leaving office as chancellor, Schröder immediately became chairman of the North European Gas Pipeline, a 51-percent Gazprom-owned company, a move which provoked outrage with literally dozens of Germans across the nation for nearly thirty-six hours on end. Being more of an honorary post with a mere symbolic salary of $300,000 a year, Schröder, referred to by many here (in my neighborhood, at least) as The Teflon Chancellor (Bismarck was the iron one) has yet to understand why anyone anywhere at anytime could ever have anything bad to say about his actions.

So imagine the surprise and the outrage here when Lantos actually said what so many other non-Germans have been thinking all along and charged that Schröder’s close business ties to Russia’s energy sector amounted to “political prostitution“. He said he would like to call Schröder “a political prostitute, now that he’s taking big checks from Putin. But the sex workers in my district objected.”

“Political prostitute is an ugly and highly-inaccurate term,” said one of Schröder’s countless outraged supporters in Berlin, gasping for breath and foaming profusely about the lower mouth area. “Especially when, uh, you’re talking about all the incredible moves this guy can make and the giant sums of money involved here. We think political call girl is a much more appropriate designation in this case.”

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