Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jean Sans Peur

Jean Sarkozy will go far in politics. His withdrawal tonight from the race for the EPAD presidency was a sans faute. The young man may not be a rocket scientist or even a very promising law student, but he is a born communicator.

Compare his subdued demeanor tonight with his exuberant pugnacity when he pressed his candidacy on FR3 as an expression of the will of the people through universal suffrage. Tonight he said rather that success in politics is a matter of listening to what people are saying: even if you've got the votes, you don't have legitimacy if people believe that the process that gave them to you was biased.

He may have gotten only 11 in "history of political ideas," but this was right on the mark. So he's passed the first test in politics: knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. To be sure, he had the advice of an old hand: his father--not the president, he said, just my dad. Another masterful stroke: like any young man in a difficult situation, he consulted his dad. Who could possibly hold that against him? No nepotism there; no collusion; no circumvention of hierarchy. Just a boy and his dad, not a king and his heir plotting against envious courtiers.

It was beautifully done. And after the elder Sarkozy had put everyone's back up (including mine--see earlier comment) with his suggestion that all that counts in politics is action, and talk is cheap. Jean confirmed that talk is not so cheap after all: it can stop actors in their tracks. But it can't stop them from acting (in the theatrical sense), from turning defeat to advantage by framing it as "a decision of reason," a step toward maturity--which indeed it was.

Jean Sarkozy emerges from this episode a net winner. He has had all the national exposure a young and ambitious politician of 23 could wish for. He has shown himself capable of playing in prime time. He has mastered all the codes of communication. He is a consummate performer. He avoids the down side of the top job at EPAD: if there is corruption there, as there undoubtedly is, he won't bear prima facie responsibility for it. And yet he will still be elected tomorrow to the post of administrateur--a nice consolation prize.

Bien joué, jeune homme.

11 comments:

brent said...

I completely agree. Despicable as I found the whole original proposition, I felt that JS handled himself in tonight's broadcast with professional discipline I can hardly imagine in a 23-year-old. Now if he can just pass a few courses ...

meshplate said...

Wow, that's quite déclaration d'amour! Sure isn't the way I saw it. Jeannot systematically refused to answer what had been true in the criticisms of his candidature. Instead, he argued that he had maligned and hounded. Yes, it was mature: a mature example of political lying. "I did nothing wrong, and rather have been wronged myself, however I am withdrawing." Incoherent? You bet. Especially since he will still become an administrator, a position for which he is no more greatly suited

Unknown said...

Meshplate,
I don't love the guy any more than I love his father, but I do acknowledge political talent. Talent can be dangerous. One shouldn't underestimate the talent of one's adversaries.

Unknown said...

Bremner's take: http://timescorrespondents.typepad.com/charles_bremner/2009/10/sarkozys-boy-backs-off-.html

meshplate said...

Bremner: "He is still being elected today to a seat on the board of the Epad...He is just not going to grab its chairmanship for the time being, as Dad had planned for December. He is also still being lined up by the President and his local barons to take over the Hauts-de-Seine département council in 2011." & "Today, ministers and spokesmen are dutifully praising Junior's courage and congratulating him on his wise decision, which was the right thing to do, his great maturity and so on. If it was so right, one wonders why no member of the government or parliament said so before the presidential order to retreat?" Here, here Charles for putting your finger on the hypocrisy of it all.

Unknown said...

I agree with Le Monde:
http://www.lemonde.fr/opinions/article/2009/10/23/demi-mesure_1257816_3232.html

Bravo l'artiste, the mistake was papa's.

meshplate said...

I agree with this wholeheartedly. "Ce qui repose la question suivante : est-il vraiment le plus qualifié de tous les conseillers généraux des Hauts-de-Seine pour représenter le département au conseil d'administration d'une institution si importante ?" He is no more qualified to be an administrator than president of EPAD.

I don't agree with this at all: "Si Jean Sarkozy a été contraint de jeter le gant, il l'a fait avec élégance et maturité, prenant date pour son avenir politique." As Bremmer said, he just comes off as mini-Sarko. If you are brought up with the example that the means of lying justifies the end of achieving power, you will naturally be an adept politician. Children instinctively understand deception as a way to get their way better adults. They have not yet developed a conscience; it is usual practice to try to break the habit d'office. In the Sarko house, this surely couldn't and didn't happen. It would go against his "principles."

Cincinna said...

Meshplate, I think Jean Sarko is very different from his father. Different in style, temperament, in upbringing, and heritage.

Sarko is the son of an Hungarian immigrant. He was raised by his non- French European grandfather. He is like many first generation immigrants in America.A bit rough around the edges, in a hurry, a little flashy, and somewhat "foreign".

I titally disagree with your snarky comments about Sarko's character. I believe he totally believes in the French way, and in Republican values. He is a man of the right, and conservative, but that is a statement of belief, not of character.

His older sons were brought up in a very traditional manner by a strong father and a devout Roman Catholic mother.

Jean was raised by French parents, in the French manner, and it shows in his demeanor, body language, and speech. He is totally French.

Sarko has always been viewed as an outsider. Jean Sarkozy is quintissentially French.

He is a young man with great communication ability and political skill. He genuinely likes people and respects them, and it shows.

It's a generational thing. Sarko is a breath of fresh air compared to his predecessors. Jean's generation will be even more so.

meshplate said...

Sarkozy has proved himself at least as corrupt and authoritarian (undemocratic) as any of his predecessors. Yu just have to read the papers. People are nauseated by the President. He is the Franch George W..

MYOS said...

Jean did a great job delivering the lines that had been written for him. It was obvious he was reciting, but he did so with easy charm.

Another charming electoral "error" that will be promptly corrected:
http://www.liberation.fr/economie/0101599003-la-taxe-additionnelle-sur-les-banques-adoptee-par-l-assemblee
You'd think a "wrong button" error could be possible, except 1° 5mn before the vote, JF Lamour was defending the law and Christine Lagarde was ordering him and all potential dissenters to vote against it 2° JF Lamour is not some random doofus, he's a former international fencing champion.
Not to worry,a new vote to obtain the "proper" result will soon be organized.

Cincinna said...

Meshplate needs to get help. He still suffers from a serious case of BDS

Now SDS and JSSDS.

Get a grip!