Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's His Game?

Patrick Devedjian says he wants Nicolas Sarkozy to resume his leadership of the UMP, thus displacing Devedjian himself. He omits to mention that Sarko had previously dispatched three "handlers" (Bertrand, NKM, Estrosi) to keep an eye on him and that he has not been in good odor at the château. Instead, he chooses to cast himself as the most loyal of Sarkozystes because the least personally ambitious. "I am not présidentiable nor was meant to be," he says (with apologies to T. S. Eliot). This is his not-so-subtle way of reminding Sarko, as if the president needed reminding, that a political party is not a band of brothers. With the persistent grumbling within UMP ranks rather louder of late, especially after the president's announcement of 100,000 new subsidized jobs and his opportunistic and perhaps temporary return to dirigisme, Sarkozy is surely aware that he needs to throw a few bones to the hungry young wolves. But that is what ministerial shake-ups are for, and the maneuvering is in full swing in advance of the remaniement expected early next year.

The other day, for instance, Alain Lamassoure happened to pass through Cambridge. Lamassoure, who was minister for European Affairs under Balladur, minister of the budget under Juppé, and advisor to Sarkozy on European matters during the campaign, was passed over for a cabinet position in favor of socialiste d'ouverture Jean-Pierre Jouyet, who has announced that he will be leaving the government in 2009. Lamassoure was careful to note in his Harvard lecture that "Nicolas Sarkozy is a remarkable man." No doubt he hopes that Sarkozy will note in turn that among those remarkably eager to serve him in this hour of need, there are others just as remarkable as Devedjian and perhaps a trifle less ironic in their zeal to flatter the prince.


Unknown said...

the intrigues at Versailles are said to have been rather complex.

Anonymous said...

I would think that as an added bonus, Devedjian would rather NOT have Xavier Bertrand as his "boss"...
Since Sarko's rumored to favor Bertrand, who himself thinks he could be the next party leader, prime minister or who knows, presidential candidate for UMP, Devedjian is trying to keep the upper hand (of sorts) in all that internal feuding.