Sunday, July 8, 2007

Blog as Boutin Barometer

When I started this blog, I thought I would be relaying information, not measuring public sentiment. A curious phenomenon has been developing over the past few days, however. I've already reported on the silence of the French political class following the revelation of the Christine Boutin video. I haven't been following reactions outside France. But I do monitor traffic on this blog, and what I see is that there has been a sharp rise in the number of readers who land here because they're doing Google searches for Christine Boutin. This morning, someone using a computer registered to the Halliburton Corporation read the article on Boutin. Now, what could that be about? Not exploration for oil ... And all of the Boutin searches originate in the United States or the Middle East, none in France.

It's almost enough to stir dark imaginings of a vast underground movement of public opinion. In any case, I thought it was worth noting. It wouldn't be the first time that a wave of sentiment developed outside the scrutiny of the general media only to burst forth at some later date, so potent as to demand a governmental response. If so, you read it here first.

Valls Talks Sense to Socialists

Manuel Valls, the deputy mayor of Evry and one of the younger generation of Socialist leaders to watch, warns the party against any further "diabolization" of Sarkozy. Instead of trying to ridicule Sarkozy's energy and omnipresence, which as I noted the other day 78 percent of voters regard as strengths, the PS should concentrate its fire on "unjust" measures such as the bouclier fiscal, the ceiling on taxes for the wealthy, and the proposed copays on medical costs. "I am glad that there is an active and omnipresent president," says Valls. "Rejecting the old politics of loud denunciation and systematic refusal of everything that comes from the government will allow us to be more audible tomorrow." It's almost as if he were reading this blog. In any case, it's good to hear a Socialist leader talking sense for a change.

DSK in Spain

Following up my previous post, Cindy Skach calls my attention to an article about Sarkozy's proposal to nominate DSK to the IMF in El Pais.