Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bouvet on Ségo

Laurent Bouvet, in a very interesting comment on Ségolène Royal's remarkable success in countering the move to marginalize her within the PS, suggests that the Tout Sauf Ségo faction(s) might achieve their goal of denying her the candidacy in 2012 by letting her become party leader now. Something to read while awaiting the announcement from the PS National Council, which will decide later today who won the election.


James said...

I wonder what you make of the following interesting comment on Le Monde's website (appended to an interview with Pascal Perrineau:

"Pendant la guerre des droites (Sarko/Villepin) que tout le monde semble oublier, j'ai eu l'impression que cela profitait à la droite dans son ensemble. Occupant tout l'espace médiatique, on n'entendait plus parler de la gauche et cela me donnait le sentiment que seule la droite existait, que tout le monde était de droite, soit pour l'un, soit pour l'autre. Après un laps de temps très court, la droite s'est évidemment rangée vite fait derrière le vainqueur..."

I think Chirac-Villepin/Sarko is more accurate but it's a thought-provoking point, no?

Arthur Goldhammer said...

It is thought-provoking, but I think the contrast between the two situations is more pertinent than the similarity. The struggle on the right was also an ego contest, but, rightly or wrongly, both Villepin and Sarko had achieved a certain stature through long proximity to the center of power and seemed to be plausible potential presidents. The Socialists' problem is different: they need to build up a personality without the advantage of occupying the seat of government. Ségo differentiated herself from the others with her presidential run, but this hasn't been entirely positive for her, because her campaign often seemed inept and her errors, magnified by intense public scrutiny, seemed to diminish. Her rivals can't even match that degree of plausibility, however, and there are so many of them, in such shifting alliances, that the net result is to diminish them all as a group rather than cast the contest as a riveting battle between implacable rivals. The Villepin-Sarko confrontation was epic; the Socialist contest is all too often comic.

James said...

Certainly your 18th Brumaire, tragedy/farce point is a good one. I wonder is the fact that Villepin-Sarko seemed to many to have a far more substantial ideological basis (centrist-Gaullism versus "droite decomplexe") than anything going on in the PS.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

It's a fair point, but I think Sarko is more centrist-Gaullist than even he probably realizes. And Villepin, who liked to think of himself as Napoleon, often reminded me more of Boulanger with a tincture of Lamartine (the poetry being decidedly un-Boulangeresque).