Friday, March 25, 2011

Double Language

Cincinna, a regular commenter here, occasionally pretends to value my insights, but what she posts elsewhere about me puts me in mind of those politicians who specialize in double discourse, saying one thing in one place and another in another. On Free Republic, a mouthpiece of the American extreme right, or "small-state American conservatism," as Cincinna would no doubt characterize it, she is rather less polite than she is here.


He is so full of Leftist knee-jerk anti-Sarko venomous hatred it makes the author's anti-Libya intervention position unintelligible. He never mentions the total incoherence and lack of leadership in Obama's war in Libya. Psycho-babble is nonsense when discussing foreign policy & political motivation. All that is missing here is an analysis of Sarko's short stature. Napoleon complex? Why not?
Goldhammer's undisguised contempt for Nicolas Sarkozy, to the point of suffering from SDS blinds him. He has also written extensively, ranting against Conservatives, GWB & Sarah Palin at length on his Blog.
He is suffering from a severe case multi polar PDS - Political Derangement Syndrome, BDS PDS SDS & now MLPDS his fear and trembling at the possible election of Marine le Pen.
As a supposed historian, his misinformation about Sarko's political & personal history is mind-boggling.
His facts are all wrong about Sarko & the Human Bomb story. Obviously he was not there, never read the newspaper accounts, never watched the video on YouTube widely used in the 2007 campaign. It caught it all on tape.
Thanks, indeed, Cincinna, for this succinct summary of my failings. I did indeed make an error about the Human Bomb story, because I am, alas, fallible and was writing under deadline pressure. I neglected to check a detail, which I once knew but had forgotten. But given the many syndromes with which I am afflicted, it's a wonder that I can write anything at all, or that you bother to read and comment on what I do manage to write day after day. I assume, by the way, that the writer at Free Republic and the commenter on this blog are the same Cincinna, and that the Free Republic writer is not some crank signing your name to her rants. If there happen to be two Cincinnas obsessed with the same error in my piece, I apologize.

Incidentally, I'm curious about that remark concerning my "fear and trembling at the possible election of Marine Le Pen." Since you have on this site referred to Marine Le Pen, if memory serves, as a neo-fascist, anti-Semite, and Holocaust denier, would you not advise "fear and trembling" at the thought of her election? In fact, I don't believe that she is any of these things--indeed, her skill as a political tactician told her to abandon those aspects of her father's rhetoric that tarred the party with these accusations--but I still view her emergence as a genuine contender as disastrous for France. Don't you?

Fined for Dog Poop, Votes FN

I opined the other day that one reason for the rising FN vote is a decline of public services as a result of Sarkozy's decision not to replace one in two retiring civil servants. This hypothesis is confirmed by various statements collected by 20 Minutes. First-time FN voters say they switched because they've had it with government failures ranging from poor snow-plowing to ill-planned bus lines. There's one source of irritation I hadn't anticipated, however: one vote canvasser observes that "people get fined for letting their dog poop where it shouldn't and they vote FN."

This of course tends to have a snowball effect: as more and more people vote FN in order to protest declining government service (or overzealous animal control officers), their neighbors look around and see that some FN voters aren't racists, xenophobes, and nostalgics for le Maréchal. The party gradually loses its toxic image. Indeed, at the moment, Marine Le Pen is sounding a good deal less toxic than any number of people around Nicolas Sarkozy. Is it any wonder that the Right is in disarray? (h/t FLN)

Sarko and the Intellectuals

The president is once again meeting with "intellectuals," the headline runs. But when we look more closely, we discover that the "intellectuals" in question are Eric Zemmour, Denis Tillinac, and Yann Moix. This is an odd selection, to say the least. Of course the presence of Zemmour among the three is no doubt meant to signal that the president is fully on board with the extrême-droitisation of the party already promoted by Jean-François Copé, Sarko advisor Patrick Buisson, and interior minister and former secretary general of the Élysée Claude Guéant. We are a long way from the lunches with intellectuals that Sarko used to organize with the help of Emmanuelle Mignon.

But if Sarko wants to play Marine Le Pen, he'll need better material than what Zemmour and Tillinac can supply him. And I don't think he'll be very convincing in the role in any case. Bernard Girard is harsher than I am, however. He suspects that Guéant's recent dérapages reveal what is actually thought at the highest levels of government. He may be right. I prefer to believe that what we are seeing is ineptitude born of panic. The old tactics for co-opting the extreme right no longer work, and the pretorian guard is desperately searching for something new, some improvised collection of petites phrases that will somehow signal to skittish voters that the president shares their nightmares and will somehow contrive to make the sun rise earlier than predicted. Of course, when panic becomes a chronic condition, as it seems on the verge of doing in France, it has a way of turning into conviction. If so, we're in for real trouble.