Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Roger Cohen, Unrepentant Sarkozist

Arun Kapil dismisses Cohen's latest paean to the French president. Kapil is right that Cohen's column is fatuous. I'm not so sure that the election is a foregone conclusion, however. This race will tighten, in my view, and mistakes and surprises are always possible. Just ask Mitt Romney.


Anonymous said...

The media have taken Hollande's side, though. He's systematically presented in a good light, his words are always the right thing, they're even appreciative of his playing La Marseillaise at the end (Showing little memory, I heard one state it was a novelty for the PS.) It's astounding to hear their praises for Hollande when he couldn't do anything right 3 years ago and when 5 years ago Sarkozy was their favorite, described with the same style and praise. It all seems very uncritical to me - then as now, both candidates had strong points. Someone told me "pour aller à la soupe il faut connaitre qui la donne" which seems to mean the media figure they'll be better off supporting the likely winner. Therefore, I think the fight is as skewed this time as it was last time; many things can still happen, but the media have already read the tea leaves (or making the tea leaves predictions come true) and are tilting the balance. Sarkozy even talked about his future once he'd no longer be the president (according to a front page Le Monde article). This morning Schneiderman went as far as to speculate on a Bayrou/Hollande 2nd round.
In this light, the Cohen article is especially ridiculous - if he'd published it 5 days ago it'd still have been a paean, but now it reads between an irony piece and an elegy.

Anonymous said...

It's true, it ain't over till it's over, but the right isn't too optimistic at the present moment, nor Sarko himself (e.g. see the headline story in today's Le Monde and the reportage on the France 2 news).


Anonymous said...

@Arun: I saw the F2 news too! Amazing: UMP officials, senators, etc, who were all saying in effect that the goose was cooked. Followed by some interviews with people on the right, who said he shouldn't run or that they're not optimistic!
Sure the media have picked their side but still, actually hearing all these UMP officials express their doubts on TV was potent, to me at least.

DavidinParis said...

I am one of those 'contre-coeur' supporters of Sarko. Hollande, like Segolene, play a worn out song that does not embrace reality. France is in a deep deep sleep. Sarko, the 'arriviste' and 'uncultivé' that he is, has managed to be a thorn in the side of the slumber that France has suffered for the last 20 years. Roger Cohen is not singing the praises of Sarko but merely stating the obvious. He is not the right school, right background mafia that has run France into the ground by exhausting the last financial residues of a long vanished empire. Just ask GW Bush.

Anonymous said...

Well, if he is not from the "right school", it's because he failed English and economics and was kicked out, otherwise he would have been. :) And he's from the right neighborhood in the right city, with all the privileges that confers in France. It's not as if he were born in a village of the Auvergne, from a single mother who lived hand-to-mouth. :)
As for "being a thorn" to wake the country from slumber, that's what he wanted to be, I grant you that. And he did embody a need for change, that's why people voted for him. But instead of doing what he'd promised, he did the opposite: favor those who don't work for a living (like his Fouquet's friends) over those who do, while causing a rise in factory closings and unemployment; rewarded those who were "well born" rather those who worked hard (the moment that sticks out for me is when he wanted to name his son head of a big business venture, when said son was barely a sophomore in college, and a failed one at that); he'd promised to increase peace and safety when in fact acts of delinquency went up, as did acts of borderline if not unlawful behavior by police officers; a transparent, truly democratic "republic" on par with other European countries, and in fact we got Karachi, Tapie, Woerth, Bettencourt, with even a sarko-friendly judge in custody as a POI! The debt went through the roof and the Cour des Comptes stated 1/3 was due to the economic crisis, 2/3 due to faulty or counterproductive policies.
Those who wanted change and conservative policies won't necessarily support Sarko; some will support Bayrou, some will support Villepin, some who wanted hard-line action will support Le Pen. But his voter base is disillusioned and split. Sunday's his big day, if he doesn't make it out on top he's going to be in big trouble. (I read that Bayrou is girding for a 2nd round against Hollande, although that may be premature.)