Friday, August 8, 2008

Quote of the day

While in France I picked up a copy of Bruno Le Maire's Des Hommes d'État. Le Maire was an assistant to Dominique de Villepin before and after he became prime minister, and he offers an interesting perspective on the Villepin-Sarkozy rivalry. He writes well, though at times he seems to be running through various exercices de style a little too self-consciously, and one suspects he covets a future in literature rather than politics. Still, certain of his aperçus are arresting. I quite liked this one:

The majority's Tuesday breakfasts in the Prime Minister's office gathered everyone who was anyone on the Right, people who were sometimes jealous of one another, sometimes detested one another, and quite often mistrusted one another. Politics is rather like a religious exercise, which obliges the faithful to set aside their rancor, boredom, fatigue, and irritation in order to frequent the same congregants year after year while affording no opportunity for extended refuge in solitude.

Remember, as you read this, that the people thus described are still running the country. Of course the description applies equally well, if not better, to the opposition.

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