Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sarkozy's Press Conference

I didn't see all of it, but in what I did see he came off as more disagreeable than usual, blaming the media for "forcing" him to make an issue of the Roma by playing up the supposed climate of insecurity; challenging his interlocutors to credit him with "at least average intelligence" in order to sidestep a question about spying on journalists; exalting himself ("You can ask that question only because you've never been head of state, have you?") and diminishing them ("Do you really think, David Pujadas, that the head of state should become involved when one of your colleagues loses his laptop?"); and, in general, showing off his alpha dog traits--to the point of baring his teeth at one moment--and absence of humor.

But just to make him look good, I guess, he was followed more or less immediately (if you ignore the banalities uttered by Alain Duhamel) by Ségolène Royal, who rattled on at interminable length to the great annoyance of Arlette Chabot. Ségo did her best to remind voters of what they found irritating about her: repetitiveness, lack of focus, illogic, and simply not knowing when to stop. And then the attack dogs--Baroin and Moscovici--went after each other. I suppose it's no wonder that France winds up with an alpha dog for president when the training ground for politicians is this variety of snarling in front of the cameras. Baroin and Mosco are perhaps the sleekest of the brood, capable of drawing blood with quick snaps and without breaking a sweat.

In contrast, Bayrou seemed calm and collected and might have passed for thoughtful, ensconced as he was in an office filled with books, except that he couldn't refrain from dismissing his would-be centrist rivals as Johnny-come-latelies who, unlike himself, had failed to shun the Sarkozyan virus at the beginning of the plague. On the whole it was a dispiriting evening, though I did enjoy Marine Le Pen's pose in front of some handsome antiques, as well as her blouse, which coruscated nicely under the TV lighting. She was not quite as pointlessly garrulous as Ségolène but she did go on, without, alas, her father's pungent way with the language--a gift that got him in trouble as often as not but at least made him occasionally interesting to watch.

Oh, yes, almost forgot: the substance. So, we're going to get rid of the wealth tax and the tax shield and replace the whole shebang with some kind of capital gains and capital income tax. The devil, as they say, is in the details. And by now we've learned that 'twixt the Sarkozyan  announcement and the final legislation, "stuff happens." For instance, just today, the Assembly voted to retain advertising during the day on the state TV networks. Scrapping part of another presidential initiative. So why try to read the tea leaves? Just wait and see what comes out of the eventual bargaining with the various forces within the UMP.


Anonymous said...

coruscated, really?

You sound like the evening put you in a foul mood.
This won't really help:

Am I totally naive for thinking the White House doesn't articulate strategies to keep press outlets under control?


Unknown said...

Gosh, I wonder what the report on me reads like.

Anonymous said...

"not dangerous: mostly interested in blouses and French stuff"

Juan saw the same interview you did but Sarkozy never puts him in a good mood:

Today I learned that, while regular ministers have 2mn to answer the representatives' questions, the prime minister is under no time constraint and can thus speak as long as he wishes. Therefore François FIllon used Question à l'Assemblée for his "State of the Republic" Speech, since Sarkozy had taken up the evening.

Also, tonight, I think that President Sarkozy told journalist Pujadas "In your job like in mine, no one's indispensable". Which reminded me of your "nice shop you've got here, it'd be too bad if something happened to it" story.

Anonymous said...

Pascal Riché picked up upon a slip of the tongue:
Sarkozy : "Ma détermination n'a rien changé" ("rien" au lieu de "pas") - le pire lapsus depuis l'invention de l'inflation.

Unknown said...

Yes, I noticed both the threat to Pujadas and the lapsus--should have mentioned both.

Scaramanga said...

You sound mightily pissed off but I guess you're right. When Sarkozy was elected, I didn't share the anti-Sarkozysm that was prevalent among my friends. Now I just can't stand him.
On the subject of his being threatening with journalists, I saw his press conference at the European summit, on the Roma affair. The way he talks to journalists is absolutely chilling. "I'm not saying this against you personally, Mrs X, I know you're only doing your job..."

Walter Wells said...

A fair comment, I thought, Professor, though I confess to having more tolerance for Sarko than you and and most of your readers. Brittle at the start, the Chef de l'État quickly snarled his way into top dog spot. His aggressiveness is nothing new ("sauve toi, pauvre con," and at one point Mme Chazal looked as though that's what she had been told). Seemed to me Sarko was right on many of his "exactitudes" and that his general approach would be persuasive to those who are persuaded by that sort of thing. His core voters will certainly react positively to his tax reform ideas. And no doubt to the press baiting too. Thanks for the brief on La Ségoène. Glad I'd moved on. Looking for the post-op polls. I'm betting he's notched up.

Walter Wells said...

Sorry: La Ségolène.