Sunday, March 13, 2011
All Is Right with the World
OK, folks, breathe easy: a new poll has DSK beating Marine Le Pen 30 to 21 in the first round; Sarkozy gets 19. So this is the new normal: a sitting president of the Republic comes in third to the candidate of the Front National. But of course DSK is not actually a candidate. If the candidate of the Left is Aubry, Royal, or Hollande, Sarko barely leads the field, but MLP is within the margin of error and beats the Socialist in each case. What does this tell us about the health of the French polity? At what point do we begin to speak of a crisis of legitimacy? Add up the votes for the extreme right and the extreme left and you get a large number of people--30%, 35%?--turning their backs on the system in place. I am reminded of an exchange of diplomatic cables. First embassy: "Situation here serious but not catastrophic." Second embassy: "Situation here catastrophic but not serious." Which better describes France?