There are politicians whom the press anoints as "young hopefuls," whose every move seems not so much a fulfillment as a promise of what comes next. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet was one such. Her star seemed perpetually on the rise, and her reputation grew faster than her list of accomplishments. She is among the few in the UMP who have established solid anti-Front National credentials, so that if the party implodes, she can be there to pick up what pieces might remain in the center of the political spectrum (she will have competition among the debris rakers, starting with Bruno Le Maire and François Baroin).
But a funny thing has happened on her way to the top. Some of the people she has elbowed aside aren't happy and are elbowing back. Even though Rachida Data seems to have quieted down, there remains opposition to NKM's parachutage into the Paris mayoral raise. The Tiberis, perennial troublemakers, are among the dissidents, but there are others. The problem seems to be that politicians whose ambitions are more circumscribed than NKM's are determined to cling tooth-and-nail to whatever petty fiefdoms they have carved out for themselves, even if the domain is nothing more than a lowly spot on the ticket of one of the city's arrondissements. If NKM can't put down these minor eruptions, her capacity to lead a national ticket will be in doubt. So the mayoral race is worth watching as a test of the tactical smarts of a young présidentiable.