Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sarkozy's Style

I was struck by this little homily in which Sarkozy dismissed his detractors:

"Les commentateurs, ils commentent. Moi je suis du côté des acteurs, donc j'agis. Leur façon d'agir, c'est de commenter, c'est nécessaire. Ma façon d'agir, c'est d'agir, c'est indispensable, ce n'est pas le même travail."

"Naturellement, celui qui commente il est moins soumis à la critique que celui qui agit, moi, j'ai été élu pour agir je ne m'arrêterai pas, il en faut plus que ça pour m'arrêter."

"Je dois arrêter d'agir parce qu'il y en a un à gauche qui n'est pas content. Ils ne sont jamais contents. Et puis je dois arrêter d'agir aussi puisqu'il y en a un à droite qui n'est pas content."

"Si je dois attendre que tout le monde soit content pour agir, je repasserai à mon successeur le flambeau de tous les problèmes que j'ai trouvés et que j'aurais laissés dans le même état."

"Je vais continuer à me déplacer. Je dois aller sur le terrain voir ce qui se passe, je dois entendre ce que les gens disent, je dois expliquer ce qu'on fait, et je dois donner le moral aussi, comme si les seules nouvelles qui trouvaient gré aux yeux des commentateurs, c'est les mauvaises."

Actually, you have to hear him deliver these improvised remarks to get the full flavor. It's not so much the substance of what he says that irritates; it's the tone. It's the overt expression of contempt for anyone who gets in his way or even hesitates, questions, or expresses doubt. It's the certainty that there is no way but his way. It's the frankness of the distinction he draws between active force in government and mere "commentary." And since government as he conceives it has only one active center, indeed only one "actor," without whom nothing that is proposed, discussed, or merely "commented" upon by the "commentariat," which in Sarkozy's conception includes all the elected representatives of the people ("un à gauche qui n'est pas content ... un à droite qui n'est pas content"), has any reality. There is only one reality: the field on which the Actor acts.

Sarko's prepared speeches are rarely as revealing as his improvised sallies (which may in fact be quite carefully prepared in advance--there's something about his spontaneity that hints at premeditation--or perhaps he merely broods on his resentment, ruminates on his rancor until it is mature and can no longer be held back).

1 comment:

Cincinna said...

You might be interested in this. It is going viral on the internet, being picked up by Drudge,, and the Washington Post.

I really do enjoy your blog. The scope of your knowledge about French politics is impressive. Although we may not be on the same exact part of the political spectrum, I respect your intellectual honesty, fairness, and willingness to promote free speech, free expression, and difference of opinion. Unfortunately, this is something which is becomeing rarer each day.