Saturday, November 23, 2013

Is NKM Going to Lose in Paris?

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.

4 comments:

brent said...

I claim no affaction whatsoever for NKM or her mayoral campaign, but I do find myself strangely on her side in this flap about the métro. Pubic transport, for all its inconveniences, IS one of the glories of urban life. "Moments de grâce," "rencontres incroyables," "anonyme et familier": these are the phrases of a connoisseur. And it's not just the Paris métro, where as a visitor I've felt all these things, but even on the less well-managed, inferior-in-every-way Boston MBTA. Her satirists are simply too mired in that conventional Parisian posture where nothing works, everything sucks, and it's all a big swindle. Ann Hidalgo needs to get our of her voiture de fonction and make some new friends on the train, or risk losing at least the Amélie vote to the sunnier NKM.

Mitch Guthman said...

I have to agree with Brent. Really, the question for Parisians is whether to vote on the basis of local issues or to express a more abstract or generalized preference about national politics. Partly this is a function of the peculiar role that the office plays in French politics.

Nevertheless, if I lived and voted in Paris, my choice would be absolutely clear. NKM cares more about the city, understands better how to make Paris work and wishes to preserve and even enhance what is best about Paris. She is also the only candidate who seems to be running for mayor with the intention of actually occupying the office while she uses it as a launching platform for bigger and better things.

This wasn't easy for me to write but NKM is clearly the better choice based on her statements about what she would like to do as mayor Surprisingly, she may be the less corporatist choice, too. (Which feeds back into our ongoing debate about what's gone wrong with the PS, but that's for another day)

Mary Campbell Gallagher said...

Three cheers for NKM. She speaks for real Parisians, among many other points, opposing the lunatic new towers by international star architects with which the Mayor, Mme Hidalgo, and the City Council are hell-bent on blighting their beautiful city.

Louis said...

@Brent: spot on. The Parisian metro is part of the urban setting, and by no means the worst part. I wouldn't support NKM, but she wasn't treated fairly on that thing.

@Art: The memories of Chirac using the hotel de ville as the base for his grab on the presidency looms large in the way we look at this particular municipal race, of course. NKM seems a little lightweight at the moment, but who knows...