Friday, August 6, 2010

What Passes for Political Shrewdness

Well, according to Le Figaro, the results are in, and M. Sarkozy has once again demonstrated his tactical brilliance, wrenching victory from the jaws of defeat with his latest crackdowns:

L'Elysée triomphe : un sondage IFOP publié vendredi 6 août par Le Figaro confirme les enquêtes confidentielles du gouvernement : les sondés soutiennent massivement les mesures répressives de M. Sarkozy.

Who's kidding whom? The Élysée has spent the summer sending messages to its two favorite constituencies, the Neuilly set and les Français de souche.

To Neuilly, the message has been: "Don't worry, read my lips, no (or at any rate, not too many) new taxes (you may be required to pony up a bit as quid pro quo for retirement reform, but rest easy, in the end you'll come out ahead). And if you continue to finance the UMP, early and often, you'll be covered for all sins, past and present. We will never give an inch to our persecutors, filthy populists and fascists all." Il ne faut pas désespérer Bettencourt, in the immortal words of Philippe Cohen.

To les Français de souche, supposedly quaking in their boots for fear of being égorgés par les égorgeurs de moutons, the message has been, Hold tight! The cavalry is on the way! And indeed, former police heavyweights have been named prefects; the anti-crime brigade has been sent into the projects of Grenoble armed and flak-jacketed like troopers in Iraq, to haul out a handful of teenagers, all of whom were released the next day; and some Gypsies may be forced to take to the road from the Périphérique to Pontoise, or vice versa (as though they didn't have the habit already).

As de Gaulle might have said, Quelle mascarade!

Times Blasts Sarkozy

The New York Times blasts Sarkozy for his latest verbal outrages, comparing his proposals to attempts by the American right-wing to repeal the 14th Amendment and deny jus solis.