Everyone has their favorite politician. Mine is Peer Steinbrück, Germany’s Minister of Finance. In terms of having inappropriate – but revealing – things to say at just the wrong moment, Mr. Steinbrück is world class.
This week he blasted the US bank stress tests as worthless. Back in October 2008 he famously denied there was any problem in the European banking system, shortly before the G7/IMF weekend that culminated in European bank rescues. And in early 2008 he and his subordinates castigated the IMF for suggesting that Germany and the eurozone could experience even a mild slowdown – have you seen the latest data?
This comment competition is straightforward. Find the politician (or other leading public figure in any country) with the most untimely quote of the past 18 months. We’re looking for hubris and denial, preferably 24 hours before an abrupt policy U-turn – so please indicate the precise context that makes the quote appealing. If your choice is Peer Steinbruck, pick his most perfect moment.
By Simon Johnson