Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Slippage

The latest TNS-Sofres poll shows Sarkozy's approval rating slipping to 53 percent, Fillon's to 44. States of grace never last, but I think it's a sign of serious trouble when a president rises as high as Sarko did so rapidly and then subsides to a rating equivalent to his electoral score. It means that his effort to broaden his base through ouverture, omnipresence, and all-fronts offensive has now alienated as many people as it may initially have enticed. Six of the eight rail unions have announced a strike for Nov. 13 that could tie up transport for quite some time, since the strike notice is renewable. We are therefore at a testing point. Up to now, Sarkozy has been adroit in dealing with serious resistance. He gave ground when university presidents and student unions resisted his university reforms, saving appearances by postponing the most difficult issues, such as selection at the master's level, until later. He chose a similar tactic at the Grenelle of the environment: the carbon tax and insecticide issues were finessed, not resolved. On the matter of the special regimes, his rhetoric has been firm, his iconography firmer: the finger poking the chest of the shop steward seemed to say "they shall not pass," yet his words implied a major concession. The bewildering array of compromises now under discussion (despite denials by the unions that discussions are taking place) may allow another face-saving "victory" on principles modified by accommodation on details. If so, the hyperpresidency may prove to be something of a wet firecracker. Pierre Moscovici made the point the other night on À vous de juger: overexposure dissipates mystery. Charles Péguy once said, Tout commence en mystique, to which Paul Valéry replied, Oui, et tout finit en politique. At 53 percent approval, we have returned to the realm of politics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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