Monday, November 28, 2011

And in the center ...

Hervé Morin announced his candidacy this weekend. Is he anything but a stalking horse for Sarkozy, to prevent centrist voters from defecting to Bayrou, EELV, or even Hollande? I doubt it. On the other hand, Bayrou, who hasn't announced yet, might become a plausible candidate if Hollande proves to be an inept campaigner. A friend suggests that I've written him off too early and recommends this recent interview as a specimen of his abilities:




I find some of his formulas rather overdone: "On ne produit plus en France." To be sure, he follows up immediately by giving an accurate trade deficit figure. But he doesn't analyze the possible effects of the austerity program that he recommends on French production and the balance of payments. What troubles me about Bayrou is that he is, by predilection, un cavalier seul. He is excellent with the rhetoric of good government, but behind the rhetoric one has the sense that there isn't enough of an organization to formulate a coherent policy in all the areas that a government must govern. It's not enough to be "good" in the moral sense; one must also be competent, or "good" in the technical sense, and no one can do it alone. (h/t JG)

11 comments:

FrédéricLN said...

Thanks JG and AG ;-)

No doubt about Bayrou's ability to elaborate a consistent agenda; anyway, if any doubt, it should be clear before March: his aides announced an (unusually for France) detailed agenda to be published in February.

The doubt is about the ability to forge a coalition, and include himself in a coalition, which should deliver this agenda. Not many politicians appreciate being led by a smart person who knows where she wants to go, and proves unsensitive to "friendly" pressures.

FrédéricLN said...

P.-S. - Just fo fun, for fans or for opponents, Bayrou's 2007 agenda is here (pdf) : http://programme.bayrou.fr/programme_fbayrou_election_presidentielle.pdf and in alphabetical topical order on archive.org at : http://tinyurl.com/br7p73w

Passerby said...

Bayrou is definitely a candidate that should be taken into account for the 2012 race. In a personality contest such as the French presidential election, he could catch a lot of votes in the first round. He didn't change his "anti-Sarko" stance over the years. Among the discontented citizens, he remains a legitimate alternative for center & moderate right voters who don't feel like voting for a socialist candidate.

However, I don't think that the MoDem stands any chance of getting a significant numbers of representatives in the next "législatives".
So for me it's "un présidentiable", with no legislative power. I don't see him changing the country, but if he plays his cards well he could create an upset in 2012 (like preventing Sarkozy from going to the second round).

Mitch Guthman said...
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Anonymous said...

Bayrou may have found an unexpected ally: Hollande, who assumes he'll be in the 2nd round, said today he'd be open to deals with Bayrou and friends, provided they call for him in the 2nd round.

I still remember a scene Serge Moati had caught between two doors in 2007: Hollande, then secretly separated from Royal, telling her (not asking, telling) "I forbid you to speak with Bayrou!" The scene struck me because whether you see them as a couple or as party leader/presidential candidate, the fact he felt he could give her an order felt anachronistic (I'd just arrived from the US and at the time I was thinking Bill/Hillary Clinton, and just the thought Bill would feel entitled to order Hillary around shocked me). Moati then playfully cuts to Royal in Valence, where she stated she wouldn't mind having a centrist in her government.

I agree with Mitch, too: it's hard to see what Hollande thinks. Plus he made a tactical mistake today when he said he didn't feel his pact with the Greens made him obliged: I can already hear Sarkozy "this man won't even keeptrowdtrowd promises to his friends, what do you think he'll do after the election?

FrédéricLN said...

@ Passerby: indeed, a Bayrou victory in May is (much, much) more likely than a MoDem majority in June.

@ Mitch Guthmann : the candidate of the Socialist Party won at the 2nd turn on 6 of the 8 Presidential elections, and won 2 of these 6 elections. Mr Hollande can imagine he did 75% of the way to May.

@ Anonymous : as the socialist ideology sunk, the very true and last sign of obedience to the Left is not idelogical any more, it's geographical: the opposition to any commitment with the Center. Once you become in a Statesperson position, you forget that — Royal did in 2007, Hollande seems to do. A very risky bet.

FrédéricLN said...

oops : " the candidate of the Socialist Party WAS at the 2nd turn on 6 of the 8 Presidential elections". You know that ;-)

FrédéricLN said...

I aplogize for fanatically commenting on the topic ;-) but it happens Mr Bayrou just released his first thorough "interview-programme" on most of the present key issues. So, one more link! http://www.latribune.fr/opinions/tribunes/20111129trib000667610/pour-redresser-le-pays-il-faut-se-remettre-a-produire-en-france.html

Mitch Guthman said...
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FrédéricLN said...

@ Mitch Guthman: I fully agree with your description of the situation.

Mitch Guthman said...

@ FrédéricLN,

Your point is well taken and even the most recent polls in which Sarkozy has gained make Hollande almost a president-in-waiting. But then so was DSK. Sarkozy is a tough campaigner who will stop at nothing. He deserves the utmost respect as a political animal. I think it’s essential that Hollande should guard against complacency as well avoiding doing things which might reinforce what many see as his regrettable ineffectualness as a campaigner and as a man lacking in his own ideas and beliefs.

I think it is especially important to guard against complacency during this election because this is a time of great crises for France. Even I must admit that Sarkozy has handled himself reasonably well in navigating in some pretty rough seas. I think also that people sense an inner toughness in Sarkozy that will probably be important for the president of France in dealing with other countries and with various interest groups during this crises. As a man of the center-left, I naturally disagree with nearly all of Sarkozy’s political views. But, if I were a frenchman, I’d have to say that when the chips are down Sarkozy is probably the better man to be in the room fighting for the interests of France with the likes of Angela Merkel.

These are not normal times. This will not be a normal election. The political alignments in France are obviously in flux. Hollande has a one goal advantage in the first 15 minutes of play. That’s good but he needs to go on the attack and be relentless in keeping the pressure on the UMP. He cannot just protect his lead for the rest of the game. Sarkozy is too strong.