Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Favorite

Nicolas Sarkozy's royal blunder--announcing a cabinet reshuffle for October, months in advance, and then letting the deadline pass--has the rumor mills spinning full tilt. It would take a Saint-Simon to do justice to the obsequious fawning and imperious signaling that have marked these past few months. Thierry Desjardins captures the atmosphere:

Aujourd’hui, Nicolas Sarkozy est à Troyes. Du coup, puisque le souverain daigne ainsi honorer de sa visite le fief de François Baroin, la Cour et les arrière-cours nous expliquent le plus sérieusement du monde qu’il pourrait bien avoir envie de faire « le grand saut générationnel » en nommant à Matignon cet éphèbe (de 45 ans tout de même) aux allures d’Harry Potter. Pourquoi pas ?

Baroin a une « belle gueule », il s’en est plutôt bien sorti pendant les dernières turbulences, il partage ses nuits avec une actrice populaire, il est le fils d’un ancien grand patron de la franc-maçonnerie, il est étiqueté comme « chiraquien », il a tout pour plaire.

Oui, mais Sarkozy est accompagné à Troyes par Jean-Louis Borloo et faire ainsi partie de la suite du monarque est un privilège aux lourdes significations. Il faut donc faire attention. Le favori d’hier n’est peut-être pas encore déchu même si, par moments, on a eu l’impression que le président était moins attentif aux cabrioles respectueuses de celui qu’on appelle, paraît-il, au château, « le fou du roi ».

Indeed, this account corresponds to various rumors I have picked up here and there. Fillon more and more overtly wants to stay. More and more overtly, Borloo is arousing opposition that Sarkozy can no longer ignore. Hence it is not surprising to hear that the monarch's eyes have turned to consider other possible favorites. The decision will no doubt have important consequences for the future of the UMP. As for the future of France, doubt is permitted. Sarkozy's personal style of government leaves little room for partnership. Still, a prime minister less discreet than Fillon has been until recently could conceivably create a space for himself alongside a seriously weakened president. But I'm not placing any bets.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing this article out. I agree with the general tone - the rigmarole is totally stupid. I could not care less because President Sarkozy decides everything and there's a budget crisis (so, no leeway for pet projects): frankly who is 'ministre de' doesn't really matter much. I doubt Hortefeux will move from his Interieur position, Chatel may well be the next Prime Minister thus leaving space at the dept of education (but it's already in shambles so I don't see what else could be done to damage it), Besson is perfect as the traitor who does the dirty work at Immigration et Identité Nationale but no matter who would be there would not be "nice" to immigrants...
I find Schneiderman's shout out to Leconte's film "Ridicule" perfect, especially the conclusion:

"One thing has not changed since Rocard (and further from us, since Leconte's Versalles): the absolute domination of Court pundits upon the entire Old Press and their steel-strength contempt for the far-far-away provinces where people croak in their marshes."

(for lurkers: even if you don't read French, just look at the picture)


Anonymous said...

ps: although "Harry Potter, prime minister" would have a nice ring to it. My money's on Chatel though. Real life: where betting on sports trumps real issues....
Today, C+ had a big story about the Match PSG Marseille, starting with Christine Ockrent's report back in the day: "Marseille, pauvre, populaire, métèque"

Anonymous said...