Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sarko Invites Schröder

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who introduced supply side reforms in the German economy that are often credited with spurring Germany's export-oriented development and insuring its relatively good performance in the Great Recession, visited the Élysée this past weekend. President Sarkozy was no doubt looking for a few useful ideas but above all for themes that can be used in his campaign against François Hollande. You see, even the socialists in Germany believe in the need for the kinds of reforms I have been urging on the French, he will say. He will try to paint Hollande as a reactionary defender of entrenched interests to the detriment of the nation as a whole.

Er wolle künftig „eine angebotsorientierte Wirtschaftspolitik und Schuldenabbau nach dem Modell von Gerhard Schröder“, so Sarkozy. Das ist vor allem eine Ohrfeige für den sozialistischen Präsidentschaftskandidaten François Hollande, der vergeblich nach Vorbildern sucht.


thisnameisinuse said...

The English version of Spiegel.de is running a story called

'Sarkozy's Comeback
Euro Rescue Efforts Boost French Leader'


which contrasts with Marianne2.fr's

'Hollande, le candidat Téflon'


Alright, there's a week between the two but the facts haven't changed that much. The Spiegel article comes across to me as rather wishful thinking, giving the wrong impressions - that Sarkozy's gained stature by, ahem, looking to German leaders; that the French were cheering him on as he put one over the British and saved the euro (from the comments I read - badly, I admit - they generally seem pretty sceptical); that Hollande's lead is 'crumbling' (not exactly inaccurate but the word gives an impression of a much greater decline than there has been. And as there was always going to be as the elections came closer). The talk of the age of retirment, also, isn't exactly wrong but doesn't give the full picture (no mention of 67).

But then my seeing the Spiegel article as wishful thinking is probably partly wishful thinking on my part. Marianne's article probably isn't without wishful thinking, either.

Mitch Guthman said...

I think this is the obvious downside of what I gather is Hollande’s strategy of sitting on his lead until the second round and then developing a political philosophy and manifesto tailored to his opponent in that round.

I guess Hollande’s political rope-a-dope can be a great strategy if Sarko’s unpopularity knocks him out in the 1st round. But if not, Sarkozy will have been been given a golden opportunity to define Hollande in the minds of French voters for months without any meaningful response from Hollande or his supporters. That could easily spell defeat for the Hollande. It leaves him very vulnerable to being defined by Sarkozy (who is a very, very smart and utterly ruthless politician).