Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hollande Gestures to the Center

François Hollande, turning his back on his party's rejection of an alliance with MoDem, has reached out to François Bayrou:

M. Hollande suivait alors une position isolée et risquée au sein du PS, où la perspective d'une alliance avec le centre avait été massivement condamnée lors du congrès de Reims, en novembre 2008. Le député de Corrèze était alors convaincu que la main tendue de Ségolène Royal en direction du centriste, entre les deux tours de la présidentielle de 2007, n'avait pas abouti car elle était survenue trop tard, et avait le tort de "renvoyer aux combinaisons, aux débauchages de dernière minute".
Meanwhile, and quite logically, J.-L. Mélenchon reads this maneuver as consummating a "divorce" from the left:
Plus radical, le candidat du Front de gauche à la présidentielle, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a notamment estimé sur France Inter, mardi 29 novembre, que "le trait d'union que veut faire François Hollande avec François Bayrou aboutit à un divorce avec la gauche", assurant de nouveau que lui et ses alliés communistes"n'iron[t] pas dans quelque gouvernement que ce soit avec les centristes car le programme de François Bayrou n'a rien à voir avec la gauche".


Mitch Guthman said...

I think there are dangers for Hollande in reaching out to Bayrou and his supporters this early. Bayrou seems to be a much better campaigner than Hollande. He also seems to me to be a man of strong political beliefs, genuinely held. He presents his own ideas very eloquently and defends them with vigor. And if Bayrou’s policies are adopted by Hollande because they are better than the policies of the PS, then perhaps centrists or even center-left voters may well ask themselves whether it might be better to vote for the man whose ideas these actually are and who is capable of more forcefully advancing them. If a centrist is what’s desired or even merely inevitable, why settle for a faux-centrist when the genuine article is available? Especially if he is the stronger campaigner of the two.

And then, too, what should PS supporters (especially of the left and center-left) make of this? After all, if Hollande is going to be pissing on them anyway then maybe they will just stay home for the first round. Really, what have they got to lose?

As I’ve said many times before, my politics are well to the left of Sarkozy's and I believe he and the UMP have not served France well for many reasons. Nevertheless, Sarkozy is not George W. Bush or Sarah Palin. If I were a PS voter, I might just be thinking that Sarkozy’s reelection would not be too high a price to pay for preventing the PS from moving further right.

I just don’t see Hollande really getting much out of his move towards the MoDem and he might well cause big chunks of his left wing to stay home for the first round. So, I kind of don't think he's getting off to a really good start.

randcoop said...

As one who is to the left Hollande, I agree that it would be difficult to support him if he now shuns the left in favor of an alliance with Bayrou.

We are constantly reading about the need for the left to offer credible alternatives instead of simply falling in line with the neoliberal approach of the current leaders. Yet those in a position to offer those credible alternatives (Papandreou, Zapatero, and now Hollande) continue to choose to follow the path of neoliberalism into oblivion.

Read Serge Halimi in the November issue of Le Monde Diplomatique on the ongoing failure of the left to assert itself (http://mondediplo.com/2011/11/01left) for more on this increasingly frustrating strategy.

Cincinna said...

Ideological purists don't win election. The votes that are up for grabs are in the center.
To win, you go where the votes are- to the center, or, as is the case often in America, you bring the center to you.
I really don't think the PS has a clue or a plan to win an election. They seem to be counting on external eventd & circumstances of the moment.
They seem to be out of touch with the reality of everyday folks, and look upon "la couche populaire" Like an anthropologist looks upon some alien civilization, or like tourists observing the little people like animals in a zoo.
There us no comprehension, and most important, no sense of respect or equality. They are a class apart.