Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lagarde vs. Baroin

Thomas Bronnec, who blogs about Bercy, reports that all is not sweetness and light between the ministers of the economy and budget since Eric Woerth departed from the latter job to take up his post at labor and tumble into scandal. François Baroin is a more political animal than Christine Lagarde, but Lagarde seems to be learning fast and amplifying her media presence in anticipation of the coming cabinet shakeup. Her denial of any ambition to move to Matignon has been taken in some quarters to be an avowal of the same. Moving Lagarde to Matignon might make sense from Sarkozy's point of view. It would put an essentially apolitical manager in charge of the government, a lieutenant who could be trusted to put the best face on things and keep the wheels on the bus while the Élysée goes into full political attack mode, firing salvos in every direction as dictated by the needs of the campaign but without relevance to the actual business of governing. Since Fillon no longer seems keen to efface himself behind Sarkozy, Lagarde might be the person to carry on at Matignon in the manner that Sarkozy seems to prefer: efficient, loyal, and above all silent.