Sunday, February 19, 2012


Nicolas Sarkozy is going all-in on presenting himself as a reborn populist rather than le président du Fouquet's. And why not? It's his only chance. But as the contradictions mount, it should become easier for Hollande to cut him to ribbons in debate. For instance:

Nicolas Sarkozy a ouvert la voie à une dose de proportionnelle aux élections législatives, revendication de longue date des "petits" partis : "Je suis convaincu qu'un mode de scrutin doit d'abord avoir pour objectif de dégager une majortié capable de gouverner. Je suis attaché au mode de scrutin uninominal à deux tours. Mais réfléchissons ensemble.
Une majorité capable de gouverner? Really? For that he needs to bring in the FN, the Boutins, the Borloos, the Morins? He has had five years to govern with a reasonably cohesive, disciplined, and ideologically unified single-party majority à sa botte. Diversifying will not make governing any easier. Clearly, the pitch here is to pick up a few votes around the edges. It's not likely to have much effect.
Rappelant son slogan de campagne en 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy a affirmé que"travailler davantage, c'est la seule façon de préserver notre niveau de vie, notre pouvoir d'achat, et de sortir par le haut de cette crise qui traîne tant d'autres pays vers le bas".
The problem with this sentence is that it all too irresistibly recalls--indeed, is meant to recall--the famous traviller plus pour gagner plus of 2007. The transposition from lusty promises of gain to whimpering defenses of tenuous production can only remind voters of the unkept promises.

"Cette campagne doit être une campagne de vérité. Où est la vérité quand on explique en même temps qu'on veut punir les voyous et abroger la loi sur la récidive ? Où est la vérité quand on fait semblant d'être Thatcher à Londres et Mitterrand à Paris ?, s'est-il interrogé, en référence aux propos de François Hollande au GuardianCe n'est pas comme ça que l'on dirige un pays qui est la cinquième puissance mondiale !"
Presumably the intention here is to portray the president as Ulysses navigating the narrow passage between the Scylla and Charybdis of neoliberalism and socialism. But Sarkozy has hardly been a model of ideological consistency, and voters might prefer a course between Mitterrand and Thatcher to one between Le Pen and Buisson.

Whatever one can say about Sarkozy (or is it Guaino speaking through his mouthpiece?), he always seemed to have a fairly good ear for the populist melodies of the moment. This speech just seems off to me.


Anonymous said...

I reember the January 2007 meeting: it was grand, enthusiastic. There was a sense of purpose. No need for exageration, people were there ( unlike Copé stating that there are 15,000 - hence, above Hollande's meeting in Le Bourget... except the room is supposed to have 6,000 people standing, 4,500 sitting. Inflated numbers are par for the course but to triple the actual number is frankly stupid.)
Also, he had funny jibes for Hollande but very few numbers to back him up and no idea. Referendums on social issues and "proportionnelle" aren't a platform.
Marine le Pen bashed him mercilessly and with glee from Lille where she, too, was having a meeting. Yesterday, in On n'est pas couché - where she finally accepted to attend even if Ruquier refused that the audience be entirely composed of FN supporters - drew almost 30% of all audiences, beating TF1 and other channels.
Yesterday Moati's film about the campaign was at the UMP's headquarters: we could see how the UMP brass was expecting a surge from mid January to February, catching up with Hollande. The fact Sarkozy hasn't closed the gap must have prompted the "déclation" on Wednesday. And yet even that did not change anything in polls. He got a tiny bump from Boutin and Morin, nothing else. Therefore, the speech today had to be pitch perfect and the meeting itself imposing.
Unfortunately, it seemed a very poor start. As you said, this seemed off to me and can't be good for him.

bernard said...

A TNS SOFRES poll published today is interesting: they polled on who people were certain of not voting for. Apparently 54% are certain not to vote for Sarkozy, 40% are certain of not voting for Hollande. The latter is to be related to recent polls which had him at close to 60% in a second round. It looks like Hollande has peaked but Sarkozy will hit a wall in trying to come back: 54% is a lot. It defines landslides a la francaise.

Anonymous said...