Monday, March 28, 2011

A Mug's Job

The job of "spokesperson" or press flack is in the best of circumstances a thankless one. In the US it is therefore assigned to an expendable flunky, who is permitted to feign stupidity, mangle the language, or pretend to suffer from hardness of hearing, the better to avoid unwanted or embarrassing questions from the press. Only on West Wing is the role elevated to one of witty repartee and high-level intellectual fencing with the representatives of the Fourth Estate. Robert Gibbs was no C. J. Cregg (thanks, Kirk, for the correct spelling of C. J.'s last name!)

In France, however, the role is assigned to a working politician, who is obliged to dissemble with grace and intelligence. I can't say that François Baroin fills the bill. His matinee idol looks are supposed to detract from the vapidity of his answers to questions. But who even notices the vapidity, since his delivery is so seductive? He manages to give the impression of an actor playing a press flack who believes himself to be so far above the role that he doesn't need to disguise his contempt for the silliness of the exercise in which he engages daily. Yesterday he was in fine form, fending off the obvious questions with even more obvious answers and with an aplomb that suggested he couldn't wait to get back to the tennis court.

Today, however, Baroin broke with convention and broke news as well by calling for the UMP to suspend the upcoming debate on laïcité. Sarkozy promptly called him to order. But here we have, from the loyal Chiraquien, yet another sign that the UMP is fissuring in every possible direction. Villepin for president, anyone?

Laïcité : "Il faut mettre un terme à ces débats"... by FranceInfo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Further fissuring: After the statement, some sarkoboys hurried to say that Baroin had mispoken, that he didn't exactly mean what he'd said.
To which Baroin replied that he did mean what he'd said, exactly, and hadn't mispoken at all.
At this point President Sarkozy remembers that Baroin is Chirac's baby (politically) and all that business about keeping your enemies closer may have consequences when you give them a loudpseaker.
Oh: the Radicaux valoisiens said that if UMP didn't change course on the matter of laïcité, they'd break up. Borloo is clearly relishing the thought.