Sunday, April 5, 2009

Villepin Multiplies His Criticisms

Has there ever been a politician in a stranger position than Dominique de Villepin? Facing trial later this year in the Clearstream affair, he nevertheless continues to pursue his ambitions--ultimately presidential--as if no sword hung over his head, and as if the president, whom he attacks relentlessly, were not both his mortal enemy and the leader of the party whose support he will need if he wants to make a run for it. Clearly he is banking on a collapse of Sarkozy's credibility before 2012--a distinct possibility, to be sure. In adversity, other politicians of his stature--Jospin, Juppé--have chosen to withdraw from the scene for a time. Villepin seems to have chosen the opposite course: provocation as a means to continual publicity. It may well work for him. But a political trial is always an unpredictable thing. He still has to survive the judicial ordeal. If he does, however, he may not be so badly placed to pick up the standard if Sarko stumbles. Better placed, in any case, than Jean-François Copé, his potential rival, who seems unable to decide whether he is a loyal lieutenant or a scheming corporal.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...the president, whom he attacks relentlessly, were not both his mortal enemy and the leader of the party whose support he will need if he wants to make a run for it..."
that was Sarkozy's dilemma too but I'm inclined to think that that is the default mode of succession on the Right (think Balladur's failed coup against Chirac, Chirac vs. Giscard d'Estaing). The UMP is characterized by its rallying behind the chief - and I guess if that means rallying behind a young (or not so young) wolf who "kills" the old chief, then so be it.
There's something pre-républicain about such a political culture. (Heck, its even pre-"political"!) I never came across a description of this in Rémond's "Three Rights" but people from within the RPR have confirmed this trait, and consider it one of their strengths.

I get the impression that - should he survive the legal battles - De Villepin really is the "natural" successor to Sarkozy. Quite a pity, however, because 1) it hardly signifies a generational renewal of leadership and 2) to use a sort of hybrid classical/Hollywood reference, Villepin is more in the mold of Commodus than Marcus Aurelius.


Chris P.

MYOS said...

A while back you asked us who we thought could do the job on the right, beside Sarkozy. I definitively think De Villepin could.
At least, if the clearstream affair was supposed to shut him up, it did not work.
And do you really think he would be sentences to jail? So he can"t be ruled out.

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