German Pirate Party Copies DNC's Romneytaxplan.com to Mock German Social Democrat
BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, October 22 2012
When people talk about exporting American democracy, it's likely they don't mean the culture of endless parody and ad-hominem attacks that play out across single-serving microsites aimed at this or that candidate. But that aspect of American-style Internet politics has made its way to Germany.
German Pirate Party members in the Berlin assembly took a page from the Democratic Party's playbook recently when they launched a site mocking former German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, a Social-Democrat campaigning to become the country's next chancellor, for claiming the mantle of transparency while declining to release more information about his own personal finances.
At steinbrueckseinkuenfte.de, which translates to "Steinbruecksearnings.de," the party emulates the Democrats' Romney Tax Plan site by promising a look at Steinbrueck's finance disclosures if visitors would only click a button that cleverly slides out of the way whenever a mouse approaches it.
Steinbrueck, has not fully disclosed his side income from making public appearances, leading some to advocate, such as through a Change.org petition, for a law requiring that members of the German Parliament fully disclose such income and for ratifying a U.N. convention against corruption.
While Steinbrueck said in an interview that he supports more stringent rules for members of Parliament, he also suggested that total transparency would only be possible in a dictatorship.
"Peer Steinbrück has promised a transparency offensive and the citizens shall get a transparency offensive," the site reads, in German. "Just click on the button to obtain all tax returns and side earnings of Peer Steinbrück in Euros and Cents since 1990."
The unclickable button concept comes from the Romney tax plan website, a Democratic vehicle to ding Mitt Romney for declining to release specifics about his tax proposals.
After visitors to the Pirate Party site make enough efforts to get their information, another message then appears: "Peer Steinbrück has of course not published his side earnings. Steinbrueck says: 'I think that transparency only exists in dictatorships.' Even though many politicians, not just from the SPD, could publish their side income and lobby contacts voluntarily, they have resisted doing so for years. The Pirates advocate for actions in politics and administration that leave a documented trail. That's why Pirate-Representatives publish their side income and lobbyist contacts. Voluntarily."
A note at the bottom of the site notes that code was "cheekily" copied from Romneytaxplan.com.
The original Romney tax plan site has accumulated at least one million Facebook likes or shares and 68,800 tweets. The German site has 2,300 likes or shares on Facebook and so far around 770 tweets.
This post has been corrected to fix an editing error. As a commenter notes, the Romney Tax Plan site mocks Mitt Romney's tax proposals, not his refusal to release tax returns from certain years.