Monday, October 10, 2011

What the Right Is Thinking?

How would the Right like the PS primary to turn out? It would have been hard to tell from listening yesterday to Jean-François Copé, who vied with Pierre Moscovici in rudeness yesterday on France2. Copé had one point to make--that the 2.5 million Socialist voters were an unrepresentative and insignificant sample of the French electorate--and he made it as loudly, repeatedly, and unpleasantly as he could, while Moscovici was intent on painting "a great victory for democracy, the Left, and the Socialist Party," as if Sunday's better-than-expected turnout would somehow go down in history alongside the Popular Front demonstrations of 1936 or the 1981 liesse following the victory of Mitterrand. Those two almost made Laurent Fabius look like a sage--no mean feat.

But what does the Right really think about yesterday's results? If Aubry captures the Montebourg vote and absorbs any part of the Montebourg line, Sarkozy would probably be pleased. There would be plenty of contradictions to attack. Sarkozy could probably mount a stronger campaign against Aubry than against Hollande. On the other hand, working-class FN voters may be tempted by this more protectionist, anti- --or, pardon me, de- --globalization left. Even without the anti-immigrant line, this would be a more "populaire" left, likely to frighten some on the right who have grown weary of Sarkozy. So the net effect might be to weaken the FN in the first round while modestly strengthening the UMP vote--both to Sarkozy's benefit, since his worst nightmare has to be a first-round loss to Le Pen. In the second round, he would no doubt emphasize the "gauchisme" of the alliance of Mme 35 Heures with Arnaud "Mélenchon." A lot would then depend on Aubry's poise as a candidate, both on the stump and in debate. Perhaps we'll get an idea of how she would perform in this week's crucial debate with Hollande.


bernard said...

Of course,enemies will be at pains too outline vast differences between Aubry and Hollande, and will use any word from one or the other as proof of either gauchisme or social-traîtrise. We all know that's a load of you know what. Aubry and Hollande have never been far separated in reality on their options -when did they ever diverge in the past??- and my conclusion would have to be that their present divergence is the product of two things: there is only one slot at the top on the one hand, secondly a strategic difference on how to win that top slot. So this is a choc of personal ambition, which is natural, and two distinct strategies, with Aubry's strategy aiming towards the first round of presidential elections and Hollande's strategy aiming for the second round.

Being outside France, I have already cast my vote for the second round of the primaries, and the way I chose was solely on who is more likely to send Sarkozy to early retirement, without any ideological calculations because I don't think there really are or will be any in practice in this case, whatever divide smartalecks like Cope try to invent. And I think and hope that every elector in this second round will try and do the same as I did.

And if I have to compromise my working class credentials - hey, I was part of the apparat once upon a time - with some centrist voters to get rid of Sarkozy, well I won't shy from it and will not even be holding a cloth over my nose.

And so I voted Hollande. But I could be wrong and maybe a majority will tell me that Aubry has the better chance (that's how electors will be choosing, I am pretty sure). In that case, I'll be 200% behind her in the presidential and Mr Copé might as well go for a long holiday because he will not change anythig in my mind with his ridiculous statements. And I think a massive part of the French are with me on this.

Cincinna said...

I read with great interest your reasoning for voting Hollande au 2ème tour. 
  I have to preface my remarks with full disclosure: I would never vote for a Socialist. But trying to be objective, looking at the candidates and the dynamics of this election I believe that Hollande is the much stronger candidate who might have some chance defeating Sarko. Depending of course on the state if the economy, and the campaigns and debate performance of the candidates.
  Aubry, IMHO, is the far weaker candidate. Hollande is much smarter, more likable, and experienced. 
  Aubry has already stated she wants to be the first woman President de la Republique. Where have we heard this appeal "vote for me because I'm a woman" before? Most people were insulted by it, and we all saw the results...  a political thrashing and the humiliating wipeout of Ségolène Royal.       
  I also think Sunday's results show real fracture & disorder in the Socialist Party. It shows severe tensions between the moderate Social Democrat wing, and the far left elements. 
  To win, Hollande would have to pull from the center/moderate wing of the PS and center; Aubry would have to pull from the far left. Which group will appeal to France's electorate in 2012? 
  France still remains a center right country, and whomever hopes to win has to win over votes from the center/moderates,not the far left. 
  The PS candidate still has to beat Sarko. Although he is very low in the polls now, he remains a focused, engaged, powerful debater with tremendous skill and stamina in
retail politicking.
  Hollande has totally remade his image these past two years- he looks 10 years younger, trim and fit, and positioned in the center.
  Sarko, too, has been working on Sarko version 2.0. We just haven't seen it yet. Calmer, more mature, the statesman, the diplomat, the negotiator, the new Daddy. A force to be reckoned with. 
  It should be very interesting to watch.