Friday, November 26, 2010

The Grand Bargain

So Martine Aubry, Ségolène Royal, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn have agreed, it seems, among themselves that one of them will be the presidential candidate of the PS. What the other two get in exchange has not been revealed.

I wonder if any of the three reads American history. Perhaps they have heard of the 1824 pact that gave John Q. Adams the presidency and made Henry Clay Secretary of State (if it actually existed). In the end it didn't work out so well: its enemies labeled it "the Corrupt Bargain," and partly on the strength of that label Andrew Jackson won the presidency in 1828 and destroyed Adams' National Republican Party once and for all. Just sayin' ...

Clarification: This bargain does not mean that there will be no other candidates in the primary! It means that  the "big three" have agreeed that ONLY ONE of them will be a candidate. Their assumption is that only one of them can possibly win. They may, of course, be wrong. But Holland, Valls, and Montebourg are almost sure to be candidates unless something changes. And something could very well change. The PS could decide that it wants to present a united front, for example, and the other ambitious proto-candidates could be bought off in one way or another. The more interesting question is what the Big Three have decided among themselves. Any guesses?


Kirk said...

So the "primaries" will just have these three candidates? I wonder what the other socialist "presidentiables" think about this...

And just the other day, Aubrey was on the evening news saying how it would be "le peuple" who would choose their candidate.

Unknown said...

Kirk, No, the deal is that only one of these three "heavyweights" will be a candidate. Others may run, but the thinking of the 3 is that they cannot win. Hollande has already denounced the bargain, and Valls and Montebourg have said that they will be candidates in the primary.

Won, Philippe et Raphael said...

Holland will be candidate too in the primary. He is on diet!

Tom Holzman said...

What a circus this is going to be! Art can charge admission to this one, and I will sell popcorn.

Kirk said...

Royal denies this:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was wondering where the glitch was for Royal; last summer she said she made an agreement with Aubry and DSK regarding the process, with a promise from them it'd be 'transparent', clean, and open. But at no point she'd said she wouldn't run (although quite a few journalists seemed to assume this, which seemed too OutOfCharacter to be realistic.) Last we'd heard, she'd claimed she could win the primaires if she decided to run, that didn't sound like a deal in the making to me.

I think Aubry tried to force Royal's hand with that statement and it came back to her like a boomerang to the mouth - I must say this isn't the first time Aubry has vastly miscalculated a move, although I only remember a couple, from that bleak image with monotone after the reshuffle two weeks ago all the way back to that super big meeting that was supposed to denounce the assault on freedoms by Sarkozy, that ended up attracting no one and bombed in the most disastrous way.


Anonymous said...

Actually, it sounds as if Aubry made the decision to include Royal in her "pacte de désistement" .. on her own. She saw Royal for lunch and allegedly didn't mention anything.
I can understand why Hollande, Valls, Montebourg... would be upset: either it's a primary and people vote for their favorite and any of them can get to the top, or it's what Aubry, Bartolone, Cambadelis, have said they wanted, "une primaire de confirmation".

As far as I know, Royal is both in favor of "early" primaries and of an open primary with many candidates, so she wouldn't be in favor of "primaire de confirmation".
In fact, the only one I can imagine benefiting from "primaire de confirmation" is DSK and he's pretty different from Royal be it in style or in themes.

The way I see it, the Aubry-DSK-Bartolone camp saw it was losing on the "calendar" issue so they tried to switch the topic and pull people to their side.

Royal's spokesperson is pretty clear about her position, so I'm not sure what Aubry was thinking:
"Il ne peut pas y avoir de pacte de verrouillage. Le vrai pacte, c'est celui qui nous permettra de réussir les primaires."

Vertigo said...

I can't see how this can backfire also, isn't it taking the possibility of choice away from people?

FrédéricLN said...

"It means that the "big three" have agreeed that ONLY ONE of them will be a candidate."

Will be a presidential candidate : for sure.

But several of them may be candidates at the PS presidential primary election. I understand this announcement as just a promise of fair behaviour between them.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if there was an ambiguity that there would only be one of the three as a candidate, it's now clear the only agreement was on fair practices (Solferino seems to admit they did not back Royal in 2007 and that indeed there was cheating involved at Reims... all are thus afraid it'd happen again.)
Although Aubry's statement was ambiguous enough that Désir had to backpedal/clear it up:

Anonymous said...

It looks like Aubry tried to co-opt Royal or force her to declare her candidacy, while telling the "challengers" to shut up. She may have been unhappy about Montebourg deciding on
In any case, it backfired. The "new calendar" now seems unavoidable and Aubry is pressed to declare herself either as DSK spokesperson or as a candidate. As I said above: "boomerang". Bam!
I also love how the hypocrisies were revealed in the process. If they get over it quickly it may not cause too much damage but if they get mired in that endless "will he or won't he" I'm afraid Sarkozy will be the president until 2017 with the easiest campaign ever.
Askolovitch has got a good column about the hullaboo.