Friday, February 25, 2011

Juppé in for MAM

As I predicted yesterday, MAM has become too much of a liability to be kept on, and Alain Juppé will replace her. Or so the rumor goes. But as rumors go, this one looks pretty solid, with the AFP attributing confirmation to "a minister."

I met Juppé once. My impressions: smart, sharp-tongued, arrogant. He's become slightly less arrogant over the years, and in his blog he sometimes comes across as downright warm and fuzzy. The exile in Canada may have mellowed him. In any case, he's certainly a more substantial presence at the Quai than either MAM or Kouchner.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

And another one who's been convicted of corruption, but, hey, that's no big deal...

Mark said...

Interesting that she's being shown the door only for the sake of political expediency. Principle? Ha! I can't wait to see how Sarko's going to try to spin the change.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Hey, Juppé took the fall for la classe politique as a whole. They were all doing it. It was a question of mores, as Tocqueville might say, not morals. Since Chirac is likely to walk on similar charges for acts committed in the same era, why not consider Juppé rehabilitated and let bygones be bygones?

Anonymous said...

Because Juppé broke the social contract that should exist between politicians and the people who elected him. The argument that others did it so he should be forgiven shouldn't ever apply to people who steal public money.

Mark said...

Here, here!

Anonymous said...

Mark, isn't it "hear, hear"? Not being a spelling snob, but I always thought that's what it was, and I've seen 'here, here" several times over the past 2 weeks and I've been wondering.

Juppé also told the people in Bordeaux that he'd never leave them if they re-elected him, they did, and he seized the minister job when it was offered (after he'd spat on Sarkozy.)

Chirac should be judged and, if guilty, found guilty. It may set a precedent.
While the French political class is far from being as corrupt as the Italian one, these practices just shouldn't fly. Bipartisan honesty: De Gaulle and Jospin did it, why not others?

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Yes, it's "Hear! Hear!", actually, as recorded in the minutes of British parliamentary debate. But frankly I am shocked, shocked to discover that you readers are shocked! shocked! by the existence of political corruption. Truth be told, however, I'm not quite as blasé as I seem. I'm not really suggesting forgiveness. But the law did punish Juppé, and for a man of his ambition, a period of ineligibility was a real punishment. He might have been president. That now seems unlikely. And his particular offense was rather venial, wouldn't you say? Or maybe you wouldn't. I'm with Shakespeare: "Besides, there is no king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to the arbitrement of swords, can try it out with all unspotted soldiers."

Henry V

Mark said...

thanks for the info. carried away in the heat of the moment!

Cincinna said...

Alain Juppe is an incredibly capable, politically able, smart, and very charming man. He was always available and helpful to me in organizing tourism & fundraising in Bordeaux.
I think there is a double standard at work here. Juppe is basically un petit poussin in French political corruption. The monumental corruption and self enrichment at France's expense by Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac pale in comparison. They don't call him "Jacques Iraq" for nothing.
The everybody does it excuse doesn't wash, but Juppe has paid his price to society. He is certainly more loyal
& trustworthy & certainly preferable IMHO than the loathsome anti-American weasel Villepin

Mark said...

@Cincinna: Chirac doesn't even have his own apartment! He lives in a friend's place, but it just might be a clever ruse. I agree with you about Villepin, although it's not anti-Americanism that bothers me. If becoming pro-American were in his interest, he'd do it.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Mark, The "friend" who lent Chirac the apartment is the Hariri family, relatives of the slain leader of Lebanon. This arrangement is as unsavory as Alliot-Marie's with Ben Ali or Fillon's with Mubarak. The apartment is on the Quai Voltaire--pricey real estate indeed. Not the kind of favor a politician should be accepting from a foreign power.

Mark said...

Thank you for that. I didn't have time to check that out. Well, there you go: they're all doing it! Must be all right then.

Cincinna said...

To Mark & Art: Chirac has lived like a King in "public" housing for most of his political career. Chirac's apartment on Quai Voltaire, overlooking the Seine, is hardly the Parisian Garret in La Boheme. It is a huge, richly appointed, luxury dwelling. 
Mitterrand lived the same way. 
The Hariri connection is interesting. Chirac has been in bed with the potentates & dictators of the Arab world for many years. His friendship with Saddam Hussein, greased by millions in kickbacks was not only illegal, but against the interests of France. His involvement in the Oil for Food Scandal was even worse. All this earned him the nickname "Jacques Iraq". and earlier, he was known as the oily "Black Jack" on the Bebete Show. 

Chirac and his family have never spent their own considerable fortune, which grew enormously from the time he was Maire de Paris, living in the palatial Hotel de Ville, to Matignon to Elysees. He and his wife have lined their pockets all the way. They are very rich, indeed. 
He is gotten away with so much partly because of his warm, outgoing personality and likeable nature. 
Working with charitable cultural Franco-American groups, my many years in Paris, he was always wonderful to me, and to the American community in Paris. A strange combination of genuine warmth(he really does love people and animals) and a morally and politically corrupt homme politique. 
I will leave the coureur des jupes aspect to others, but yes, everything you've heard is true!
Chirac is a very different from Mitterrand, whom everyone disliked personally. 
The latest chapter in the Chirac soap opera, the latest marriage of Claude Chirac to her father's former chef du cabinet, is likely to protect her father by marrying someone who knows where all the bodies are buried.
Considering the fate of previous husbands, this one should probably get a food taster!

Mark said...

Cincinna: I was joking. You may or may not have seen that. Anyhow, apologies if you did. Anyhow, for me it's not all right!

Cincinna said...

Mark, I got your sarcasm & I agree. "They all do it" is never an excuse, not here in the US nor in France. 
  About Villepin's anti-Americanism, I would have to disagree. IMHO, he wouldn't change  even for political opportunism. He represents the very worst aspects of Gaullisme, and the anti-Americanism & arrogance are deeply ingrained in his political philosophy. Very different from Chirac, Juppe, & Sarko. 
    I am assuming from the way you spell your name that you are not French. Are you American?
 The entrenched system of a privileged class in France that doesn't have to live by the same rules as regular folk, and the acceptance of "les pots de vin" is being exposed in the age of instant communication & the Internet. Nothing like the bright light of day as a disinfectant.
    The problem in the US has never been widespread personal political corruption & enrichment, rising to a level of criminality,  even though some cases of this have been glaring, like Blago & Trafficante. It has been more a question of out of control spending , pork, and using other people's money to pay for what you should be paying for yourself. 

Mark said...

Cincinna, I think you're more on track about the French political elite, than about the politicians of the USA. Just one example: the revolving door between the military industrial complex and politicians is a systemic form corruption: Eisenhower (no leftist he) taught us this lesson in 1961, a lesson which we still have yet to learn. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pWAGgLSCSQ

Cincinna said...

 Eisenhower was POTUS 50 years ago. The Left and Right in America have greatly changed since then, as has the entire political landscape, as well as the power & influence of the Military. 
  IMHO, what-we are witnessing today is very far from the Military/Industrial Complex. 
The US faces today the  alliance between the ever expanding power of the State and Corporate big business. The US Military is a very minor player.
Witness the gov't takeover of the Health Care Industry, the automobile industriey, the banking  industry, energy industry.  This unholy alliance has always been called Fascism. 
  The Military today,   neglected, defunded, 
& impotent in influence & power , has become irrelevant. 
   Hopefully this can be reversed.