Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The Morality Battle"

Sarkozy reportedly believes that because of the DSK affair, the PS has lost the "morality battle" and is therefore in a much weaker position going into the 2012 presidential elections. I think he may be right, although he's hardly standing on the high moral ground when he says this. Count on Marine Le Pen to remind voters of the Woerth Affair, the cigars and jets bought by ministers with the Republic's money, the payoff to Bernard Tapie, Bolloré's yacht, the post-election dinner at Fouquet's, the luxurious vacations, Alliot-Marie in Tunisia, Sarkozy's pretend marriage to Cécilia right up to the divorce, Casse-toi pauvr'con, etc.

6 comments:

Kirk said...

That type of politicking could backfire strongly. Suggesting that what DSK did is representative of all socialists is just foolish. However, the fact that they all apparently knew about his "problem" does put them in a bad light.

Anonymous said...

I think the whole political class takes a thwacking for this. many French don't view their reigninig political class in "right" or "left" terms, but rather in "above" and "below" - the political elite, right or left, hovering above and the "peuple" below.

brent said...

I've been waiting to hear someone say what 'anonymous' says, above. Doesn't anyone think that Le Pen's appeal--quite apart from specific policies--depends on a general feeling of revulsion with the whole 'political class,' left, right, and center, as self-interested , self-involved, and detached from ordinary French voters? Now here's DSK, the quintessential instance of that class, embarrassing France by displaying the moral sensibility of a wart-hog. How can this not widen Le Pen's audience, and not just by the "one or two points" suggested today by a Reuters reporter? And incidentally, it still seems to be the exclusive prerogative of the far-left--first Mélenchon, now Autain--to think that the female victim in this case is even worth mentioning ...

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Brent, I'm currently writing an op-ed for the Crimson examining the persistent disaffection from the "political class" that now touches 40+% of the French electorate. On your other point, the far left does not have an exclusive here: Marine Le Pen also expressed sympathy for the victim, and now Copé and even some Socialists have joined in. I'm also less sanguine than you are about what happens to a country when the political class is discredited, especially when it is the extreme right that has profited most from the legitimation crisis. I generally avoid the word "fascism," but ...

brent said...

I'm very eager to read more about this issue of delegitimation, but I'm far from 'sanguine.' While I think the far-left has admirably demonstrated its bona fides in this case by displaying a reflexive sympathy for an abused worker, I too fear that that nuance will be overwhelmed by a much more powerful nationalist, not to say fascist, call to order.

bernard said...

what Brent was saying about the far left going on the side of the working woman victim and not others was, I think, more or less correct on the first day.

Since then, it would appear to me that most socialists are being far more prudent along the lines of "only the prosecution side is coming out right now, we need to have all the facts" and are only railing at the fact that photos of the bound suspect are being published. This is because it is illegal to publish such photos under French law, which considers them slanderous until an accused has been pronounced guilty by justice.

Give it a few days and I suspect every one will be on the same tune.

As for political exploitation of what appears to be a crime at this stage, I would expect anyone who attempts that to fare badly. And, indeed, it will also interdict any exploitation of other matters.

However, this is for me a good thing, because there was never any way in my mind that Sarkozy would be defeated by someone attacking him on these lines.

He can only be defeated by someone who proposes to the electorate a project for the future that they like better, to write loosely, who looks like a safe, experienced pair of hands, and who is capable of creating a personal relationship with the electorate. People like to chat about scandals, they don't vote in relation to them.