Thursday, January 28, 2010

And Maybe Frêche Is Not Rotten?

Rue89 trots out Georges Frêche's pro-Semite credentials after his apparently anti-Semitic comment. Meanwhile, Martine Aubry has pushed the mayor of Montpellier to mount a challenge to Frêche in retaliation for his latest "slip," which Fabius lieutenant Claude Bartolone believes was calculated. Frêche himself defends his comment as "a popular expression used by the French for centuries." Indeed, it's amusing to reflect that one way to translate "pas très catholique" in English would be "not very kosher." So Frêche would have us believe that he merely meant to say that Fabius' face is as "phony as a 3-dollar bill," rather than the face of a non-Catholic. The denial is almost plausible, since, indeed, many in France believe that Fabius has the face of a used-car salesman and wouldn't buy one from him. So Frêche might have said, Si j'étais en Haute-Normandie, je ne sais pas si je voterais Fabius, ce mec me pose problème. Il a une tronche de maquignon normand."

But maybe that wouldn't have been such good politics in Normandy, just as pas catholique isn't such good politics in Paris.

I might add that "used-car salesmen" have every reason to take offense at my above remarks, and since "one of my best friends" is in fact the daughter of a used-car salesman, I have every reason to regret this.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Sarko turns 55 today, and for a gift the court that was supposed to be filled with his lackeys cleared his arch-rival Dominique de Villepin on all counts. "Not proven" was as close as the court came to finding DdeV guilty of having masterminded the whole Clearstream operation, although it did say that he had used Chirac's name and had taken steps to get Imad Lahoud released from custody, contrary to what the former prime minister asserted in court (but I guess prevarication is considered par for the course in these high circles). And so it ends: Villepin steps down from the butcher's hook and tonight relaunches his quixotic campaign against Napoléon l'Infime. La comédie est finie. Except for the seconds couteaux, who are going to jail.

The decision, I must say, is a masterpiece and reflects my feelings about the evidence, insofar as I have been able to decipher it. Gergorin trinque, as he should, because he is the "material author" of the affair. His "experience in intelligence" should have taught him to be wary of a guy like Lahoud, "in order to avoid all manipulation." Lahoud fed him the information he needed. Bourges behaved unethically. Robert, the journalist, was just being a journalist and got mixed up in the machinations, so he gets off. And Villepin, whatever he may have suspected, was too canny to send himself up the river. He's guilty enough to deserve Sarko's enmity unto the gates of Hell and not guilty enough to retain his éligibilité though probably not his electability, unless cataclysms as yet unforetold should befall la Grande Nation. And, perhaps most important, the court steered its way nicely between Scylla and Charybdis by not succumbing to either presidential pressure or antipresidential diatribe. It was a politic decision, but not necessarily a political one. And it let off the one most nearly innocent of the Keystone Conspirators, Denis Robert.

I will be on France24 today (3 PM EST, 9 PM Paris time) to give an interview about the outcome, which is of no particular interest to me, but for some reason the station has repeatedly turned to me as a talking head on this issue. My brief experience as a pundit has made me more skeptical of the news media. In this particular instance, my "expert" qualifications seem to be that a) I follow the French news and b) speak English. I would be glad in the mean time to hear from anyone with anything interesting to say about the trial. Who knows? You might hear your views transmitted to the world via France24. How big is their audience, anyway?

Frêche Is Rotten

Georges Frêche has done it again:

Selon l’hebdomadaire L’Express, M. Frêche a récemment déclaré à l’adresse de l’ancien Premier ministre Laurent Fabius, d’origine juive: «Voter pour ce mec en Haute-Normandie me poserait un problème, il a une tronche pas catholique».

He has a Le Pen-ish gift for this sort of thing. The PS is embarrassed, yet again, by his tous azimuts vileness.