In a major speech given by Helmut Kohl in October 1978 he quotes the German sociologist Max Weber: “not to put yourself in the middle point”, which could tempt one into “becoming an actor.” (from Politik als Beruf – Politics as Profession – January 1919).

Schauspieler can be translated also into masquerader. Kohl, at that time the leader the opposition Christian Democrats, as well as during his years as chancellor 1982-1998, was not known for his rhetorical skills.

Helmut Schmidt (SPD – Social Democratic Party), chancellor 1974-81, and an embittered critic of Kohl, was considered a brilliant public speaker. 

Franz-Josef Strauss, head of the Christian Social Party (the Christian Democrat’s sister party in Bavaria) referred to Schmidt as Germany’s Staatschauspieler, loosely translated into the (Staat) state or government actor. Or masquerader.

Germans don’t like actors as chancellors. In the video above Franz Josef Strauss makes fun of then Chancellor Schmidt using the term crisis management.