Monday, September 19, 2011

The Incarnation

Stéphane Rozès gives his interpretation of Hollande's lead in the polls:

Ce qui fait aujourd’hui la prévalence de François Hollande sur les autres candidats, ce sont pour l’heure des éléments de posture, qui sont décisifs en amont de la présidentielle. Après son départ de la rue de Solférino, il a déjà commencé à donner à voir aux Français au travers d’un travail sur lui, une préparation y compris sur son apparence, qu’il était un homme libre, certes socialiste, mais se préparant à se laisser habiter par le pays et à co-construire un projet avec les Français. Une présidentielle est un rite laïque où il faut donner des signaux aux Français et donc s’insérer dans l’imaginaire français. Il y a en République, en monarchie républicaine dans les périodes inquiètes une attente de verticalité, de lien direct entre le candidat et le pays sans écran, le PS ou la Gauche. Et François Hollande s’est mieux inséré dans cet imaginaire.
I have mixed feelings about this sort of political analysis: Tout commence en mystique, tout finit en politique (dixit ValéryPéguy), and here there is a bit too much mysticism and a bit too little politics. Still, the interview is worth reading in its entirety.


FrédéricLN said...

Well, François Hollande has actually deeply changed his appearance and behaviour, tone, facial moves and so on. The content is basically the same (François Hollande is an "expert" rather than a political leader in the ordinary meaning of the word), but the usual self-ironic accent has been cancelled and replaced by a dark gravity.

He plays the Head of State, indeed. People see that, hear, feel it, therefore they consider he's relevant, (according to René Girard's description of coquetterie), when asked for a possible President.

From my point of view, it's all about early awareness (early in the Presidential race), not about desire or support. I still wonder how much the dark tone will influence the votes in the primary ballott.

It may work and it may be relevant - because, above his former cool or ironic tone, and beyond some nasty ways to undermine opponents' arguments (maybe a "figure imposée" on French political stage), François Hollande is the serious guy indeed.

Gero von Randow said...

Wasn't it Péguy who said this, about mysticism + politics?

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Gero, Right you are. Thanks for the correction.

Alex Price said...

An analysis of this sort has anti-democratic implications, since it strongly suggests that candidates are picked for reasons that have nothing to do their political views and that voters, rather than choosing their representatives in a sovereign way, can easily be manipulated. Unfortunately, I find it quite persuasive and likewise find it impossible to deny my own susceptibility to the sorts of effects Rozès discusses.