Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hortefeux Joins the Tea Party

Why do I find Brice Hortefeux so antipathetic? Let me count the ways. Here's one:

BH: La société bouge, la délinquance évolue. Il y aura donc autant de textes, de lois, de règlements que la réponse au défi de la protection des Français l'exige. Je n'ai aucun complexe là-dessus. Que certaines voix de la gauche milliardaire aient du mal à le comprendre ne me trouble pas du tout, bien au contraire !

Le Monde: Le peuple contre les élites, n'est-ce pas simpliste ?

BH: Sur les questions de sécurité et d'immigration, le message des Français au printemps était limpide. Nous ne sommes ni sourds ni aveugles. Seul Saint-Germain-des-Prés ne le comprend pas.

Dany's "Lassitude"

Bravitude was the word that weighed on the Left in the last presidential election; lassitude may be the word for 2012. Lassitude is Daniel Cohn-Bendit's choice to describe his own political mood in the summer of 2010. It's by no means clear from this distance exactly what DCB's analysis of the situation is, but a few points emerge from his recent remarks. First, he does not believe that an ideological "anti-capitalist" platform can beat Sarkozy. Second, he doesn't think that point-by-point rejection of the program of the Right suffices to define a program of the Left. For instance, he refuses to defend categorically the age of 60 as the legal retirement age and says that "workers should be free to choose" when they want to retire. His fatigue seems to stem from his inability to persuade les Verts and Europe Écologie that they are on the wrong track.

It's hard to imagine a "fatigued" Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Energy has been his defining characteristic. But it's not hard to imagine being worn down by intraparty squabbling. "My political future is behind me," DCB said this week. If so, it's not a good omen for French politics. The French Left faces a structural problem if it wishes to gain power at the national level. Its divisions are such that it cannot win without carving out une force d'appoint in the center. To do this, it needs to devise a plausible new political line and subdue some of its more extreme voices for the duration, at least, of the campaign. Out of la nébuleuse écologiste one might have hoped to see the consolidation of such une force d'appoint. As Cohn-Bendit's lassitude increases, the chances of such a consolidation are evaporating.