Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bayrou Draws Blood

François Bayrou has a bright future ahead of him as a polemicist. This rejoinder to Alain Minc is brilliant:
Je ne me plains pas d’Alain Minc. Au contraire. Il est bon d’avoir des ennemis déclarés, car vos ennemis en disent autant sur vous que vos amis.
D’habitude, on a les ennemis qu’on peut. Moi j’ai la chance d’avoir en Alain Minc l’ennemi dont on rêve, celui qu’on choisirait si on avait à choisir.
Tous les explorateurs vous le diront : il y a deux sortes de boussoles rassurantes. Celles, rares, qui ne trompent jamais et qui vous montrent fidèlement le nord même dans la pire des tempêtes magnétiques. Et, tout aussi précieuses, les boussoles qui se trompent absolument toujours et qui, quelles que soient les évidences, vous désignent, obstinément et avec assurance, le sud. Ce sont les boussoles méridianopètes. C’est Minc. C’est lui qui nous berçait avec « la mondialisation heureuse » ; c’est lui qui nous fit choisir le Minitel au lieu d’Internet ; c’est lui qui dans le mois qui suivit la crise des subprimes diagnostiqua avec sagacité que cette crise était « grotesquement psychologique. C’est de lui que Carlo de Benedetti, qu’il ruina en moins de temps qu’il n’en faut à un curé de campagne pour lire son bréviaire, dit : « Faire de lui un chef d’entreprise, c’est comme confier à un sociologue la gestion d’une charcuterie. » C’est pourquoi quand Minc est en désaccord avec moi, j’en éprouve une sorte d’aise, je me dis que je dois voir plutôt juste.

4 comments:

Tacitus said...

Is it likely that Bayrou could successfully run again for president? I seem to recall that he scored 19% of the vote in the first round last time. Or do you see an opening to another centrist type candidate given Sarkozy's low poll numbers?

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Bayrou is not polling well at the moment, but anything is possible.

FrédéricLN said...

@ Tacitus : my two cents, I agree with Art. François Bayrou is presently fighting an implicit "primary race" with "centrist", meaning center-right, leaders, namely:

* his former lieutenant Hervé Morin: a typical "liberal" in the French meaning of the word, something like a Republican of the "Wall Street" era of the GOP,

* and his former nr#2 Jean-Louis Borloo, who is (despite a rather erratic party-political record) a typical "radical" in the French meaning of the word, meaning a "laïc" (no religious references) with strong business connections — he was Bernard Tapie's business lawyer in the 80's — and great talent to build coalitions of non-partisan, independent or non-ideological forces.

Bayrou himself is, from my point of view, a Democrat in Barack Obama's meaning of the word — rooted in France's tradition of "democratie chrétienne" (Marc Sangnier), revamped by the first "ecologist" philosophers in the 60's (Lanza del Vasto, Jacques Ellul, and so on).

Altogether, Bayrou, Morin and Borloo represent the three components of the former UDF, the coalition Valéry Giscard d'Estaing built in 1976 to counterweight the Union de la Gauche and Jacques Chirac's UDR/RPR.

A first step to win in 2012 will be to emerge as the only possible candidate of all these currents in 2011. (Even if most politicians of these currents will support Sarkozy to maximize their own chances of reelection at Assemblée Nationale: that's not the major issue).

The door to the "center-left" (if there is a center-left in France) will be more difficult to open. Basically, all 5 major candidates to primaries (Eva Joly and Nicolas Hulot for EELV, François Hollande, Ségolène Royal and Martine Aubry — who should win this primary, I guess — for PS) come from this "center-left" space… but their support, structure, media coverage, is deeply dependant of their willingness to adopt the mottos and tone of the traditional left ("première gauche"). What will come out of this? I don't know.

And third, François Bayrou's victory would require a crash of Nicolas Sarkozy in polls. That happens not so often to a President in place.

Wee, I would rate his chances of success around 75% ;-)

Tacitus said...

Thank you Frédéric, that was a very thorough and helpful explanation.