Saturday, May 15, 2010


Back from nearly two weeks in France, I return with a store of rumors circulated with more or less confidence by a variety of sources who of course claim to have their information from the highest authority. I see that Charles Bremner has been drawing on the same wells. Indeed, the rumors about DSK are particularly thick on the ground at this time, and the juicy tidbit that Bremner attributes to a new book about DSK--that pictures exist of him leaving a notorious wife-swapping club (but surely not with Anne Sinclair on his arm)--is one that I heard from any number of sources. But of course this sort of low blow is what is to be expected in the case of a candidate like DSK--if he is a candidate--because it strikes at his most vulnerable point and is perhaps the only way at this point for the opposition to cut him down to size (he leads Sarko 61-36 in one poll). Nevertheless, the potency of his candidacy may look less formidable if the European economic crisis worsens as it may well do: the euro at 1.247, and just after I was paid a sum in euros!!

But there is another rumor regarding DSK that Bremner does not report, a scenario that seems almost too good to be true. It is this: Martine Aubry, I am told, does not want to be president (like father, like daughter). She would prefer to be prime minister. And she has struck a deal, the story goes, with DSK and Fabius: she will become PM, DSK will defeat Sarkozy and become president, and Fabius will keep his troops in line and support DSK in exchange for nomination as foreign minister. What about the primaries? I asked. And how can Ségolène be kept from upsetting the applecart? The primaries will be finessed, was the answer. Some pretext will be found to renege on the public promise to hold primaries, and DSK will be nominated by approbation. Americans will be reminded of the "smoke-filled room" in which presidents used to be chosen. And what about the party barons? Not to worry, I was told: Martine has the party firmly in hand.

On va voir. Two years is a long time in politics, and there will no doubt be many more rumors between now and the campaign season. But this is the picture with which I return: the Socialists are persuaded that 2012 will be a do or die election for them: they must win, and to do that they must unite on a candidate. DSK is their most plausible candidate, so a consensus is already developing around him. And Ségolène Royal will simply be swept aside, since the elephants are convinced that she is the one sure way to lose. The potential flaw in this otherwise impeccable machination is, of course, that DSK may prove to be a totally inept candidate, and not just because of his sexual peccadilloes. He really hasn't proven that he has the single-minded devotion and discipline required of a presidential candidate. Il préfère le plaisir au pouvoir, was the way one informant put it. This was more than just a waspish comment on his roving eye; it was a judgment that the man lacks the sheer will to power necessary to conquer all.


MYOS said...
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MYOS said...

Welcome back!
I can assure you that it's not just "rumors" (DSK doesn't especially hide and plenty of people live in the residential building near the nightclub; it's got nice balconies with shrubs protecting the privacy of whoever may be out smoking at 4am, for example, while giving plain view to the area below/around). If you lived in that neighborhood, you'd have been witness to plenty of supporting evidence, including police willingly overlooking embarrassing or possibly illegal behavior ("what would you do" candid camera needed).
It's weird because in the US nothing would have been hushed. On the other hand, if we could have been spared the Tiger Wood debacle...

As for the EuroRSCG gang, they're nasty. Really nasty. They really want DSK for president and will stop at nothing. They're a real war machine. Good for him.
However, nothing proves DSK wants to leave the IMF and risk it all in France. As your source mentioned, he doesn't seem to have the drive. Having a war machine does not mean you're a warrior. Mostly, based on conversations I've had with someone close (used to be close?) to him, he seems to still reel from 2006 - apparently he can't comprehend how he got beat by someone "less smart" than he is and closer to regular people than to power circles.
In fact, the thing that bothers me most with DSK as potential candidate is his self-avowed loathing of "people less smart than" himself, and generally, mixing in with crowds, the whole shaking of hands, answering "dumb" questions, etc. That would be a serious problem for a presidential candidate if the "pretend" were too apparent. I'd fear a repeat of the Jospin equation if he were the PS candidate.

How reliable are your sources for the anti-primary plot? Because the PS voted for the primaries, didn't they? I don't see how they could "unvote" it. I mean, in a legitimate way - Aubry and co could always enact a coup of sorts, but they'd probably lose 2/3 of their supporters, wouldn't they?