Saturday, June 2, 2007

Not Making This Up

Anne-Christine Royal, a cousin of Ségolène's, is the Front National candidate in the Gironde. In the evocatively named town Cadillac-en-Fronsadais, she has chained herself to a grapevine to protest the devastation of French wine growers by globalization. A nearby banner reads, "Murdered vineyards, the FN is with you!" Mme Royal is the mother of ten children. If elected, she promises to appear in the Chamber every day dragging a vinestock chained to her foot. Ça ne s'invente pas.

1 comment:

Gregory said...

Interesting that the Reuters dispatch doesn't comment on her marital status. The usual usage when describing the family life of the Royal clan is "single mother of ten" ...

Even more interesting, though, is the UMP candidates' comment that the FN candidate "demonstrates a certain courage and convictions that I respect." That must be what they teach them to say about the FN at the new Sarkozy candidate training. The old response would have been to note the family relation and blame the presence of the FN on the Socialist party.

In all seriousness, anything the FN does to get its candidates' into the second round, esp in UMP held circumscriptions, is good news for the left.

Really interesting quadrangular run-offs are shaping up in Mamer's district, where there might be a UMP, MoDem, PS, Vert second round and Bayrou's district, where a UMP candidate, Bayrou, a PS candidate, and the CPNT candidate all might make the 2nd round.

PS. Arthur, I wrote a response a few posts back about the "assaut frontal" that got eaten by blogger but it seems a propos to the issue of legislative run-offs.

In the discussion about housing, you noted Allegre's criticism of the "assaut frontal" and seemed to agree with his statement that there are "good ideas" on the right. On the level of tactics, though, the term "assaut frontal" was Fabius's strategy -- that to win, the PS needs primarily to shore up support to its left by clarifying its differences from the right (in effect, a mirror of th e strategy Sarkozy, or for that matter Rove, took on the right). (I believe Fabius adopted this strategy during the time he spent in the States in the spring of 04). One might call this the "base strategy." This is the strategic position taken by Hollande as well.

The alternative, advanced by Rocard, Kouchner and, for a few days after the 1st round of the presidential, by Royal, is to seek out a majority in the center -- in part by signaling a clear break from the supposedly unpopular ideas and constituencies of the left (whose votes one presumes will be there anyway, out of desire to win and fear of the right). One might call this the Blair strategy or the strategy that Kerry pursued in the fall of 04.

I wonder therefore if you are, strategically rather than intellectual speaking, advocating the PS adopt the latter (as Strauss-Kahn advocates at the moment). If so, do you think this is a politically winning strategy (ie, do you believe "anti-liberal" and esp working class voters will come out for a PS, or even MoDem, candidate out of fear of the right -- or do you think this is an intellectual strategy the majority for which will need to be built in the future?

To be clear, my preference intellectually is for the sort of social democracy you advocate but I don't see that as a politically winning strategy, esp at the moment when the greatest menace for the PS is a sharp fall off in enthusiasm among its supporters on the left.