The real test of leadership is how one reacts to the unexpected. So far the Socialists have failed the test, and I say this as one who hopes for a victory of the left next April. Some are waiting for the miracle that will bring DSK back to resolve all their differences. Others are saying that the primary must be abolished, either in order to leave time for DSK to be acquitted and still enter the race or to avoid a fratricidal bloodletting. Manuel Valls, supposedly a cool centrist, looked like a madman on TV, and it's only too easy to imagine the UMP attack ads if by some trick of fate he were to become the candidate. Hollande, it turns out, was in on the Tristane Banon affair, and one wonders how many other Socialist leaders could have been unaware of this potential bombshell if Hollande knew about it. Surely Ségolène Royal, who was his companion at the time, must have heard, which to some degree undermines her rather dignified response to date. Looking only at the surface, Royal has comported herself rather well. Aubry has also been composed and measured, but one can't really say that she has moved forcefully to impose discipline on the party, whereas Sarkozy--who has an easier job of it, to be sure--has kept his troops in line (except for the occasional Bernard Debré) and avoided la débandade that is all too evident chez les Socialistes.
This obvious disarray can only hurt the party next April. Meanwhile, the appalling spectacle of elite males making asses of themselves and saying the most outrageous things--il n'y a pas mort d'homme, troussage de domestique, la présomption d'innocence n'existe pas aux États-Unis, dans les palaces new-yorkais les femmes de chambre travaillent en brigade--is, I am told, generating revulsion at the grass roots.
I don't have a vote in France, but if I did, I would be reassessing my options at this point, as I suspect many in France are. The damage done by the DSK Affair is still incalculable, and I am having a hard time envisioning a positive outcome--unless it is finally to raise consciousness about the ravages of machismo, the arrogance of power, elite indifference to the rules that regulate the lives of ordinary people, etc. And please, please, please let this be the final nail in BHL's coffin. Why this buffoon is taken seriously not only in France but also in the US is beyond me.