Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Goasguen: Sarkozy's Errors "Humanly Comprehensible"

Claude Goasguen, UMP deputy for the 16th arrd't of Paris, makes a good point: Sarkozy was rather adroit in explaining certain errors of judgment as the result of the crisis in his personal life. He had just fulfilled his life's dream, to be president of France, but his marriage was falling apart, so he accepted Bolloré's yacht in the hope of patching things up without considering the consequences for his "image."
J'ajoute que j'ai été très séduit par la pudeur avec laquelle Nicolas Sarkozy a évoqué la concomitance entre son élection, aboutissement d'une vie, et la destruction simultanée de sa famille. Cela explique beaucoup de choses, humainement compréhensibles, même si elles sont politiquement incorrectes comme le voyage sur le yacht du « petit breton » Bolloré.
It's a story line that may carry weight with some voters. Goasguen also nicks Fabius while he's at it:
La prestation de Fabius a montré toute la différence qu'il y a entre un apparatchik socialiste et quelqu'un qui est au fait de l'actualité internationale en crise.
It's true that Fabius seemed to sleepwalk through the first few minutes of his time, but as I said earlier, he doesn't like Hollande and has a complicated history with Sarkozy, compounded by envy of the fact that of two young politicians who dreamed constantly of becoming president, only one managed to get the job done.

A Bizarre Confrontation

Sarkozy attaque Fabius sur ses "petites phrases"... by lemondefr

Water and fire. The subdued, not to say tranquilized, manner of Fabius seemed to douse Sarkozy's flames a bit. There was not a little irony in the confrontation. Fabius and Hollande have never gotten on particularly well, but there he was, a surrogate for the candidate, facing a man now married to Carla Bruni, with whom Fabius may or may not have had an affair (although she admits to many of the men rumored to have been in her life--"j'ai 40 ans et 30 amants," she crooned--she denies this one). In any case, the confrontation ne manque pas de sel, as they say, for these two reasons. Fabius came off like an anxious parent, hoping that his boy would do well, defending his record to a skeptical potential employer, but perhaps more than a little dubious in his own mind about the boy's qualities. And it was a rather monumental (Freudian?) slip to say that he'd been persuaded that François has what it takes after working with him "for several weeks--er, months, even." Right. In thirty years of shared political life, nothing had persuaded him that François Hollande was a man of presidential caliber, the equal, say, of the figure Fabius himself saw in the mirror while shaving every morning. But in a matter of "weeks, er, months" even, he convinced himself.

Score a point for Sarkozy.

The Sarkozy Style

Sarkozy se défend de toute "droitisation" by lemondefr

All politicians evade issues when they choose to do so, but Sarkozy has developed evasion into an offensive rather than defensive strategy. He first softens up the enemy with a barrage of rhetorical questions: "Do you really think ... Can you possibly be saying ... Do you find it normal that ..." He invents irrelevant analogies: "If Mme Le Pen says she prefers sunny weather to rain, well, I have news for  you. I agree with her. Does that put me on the extreme right?" You've changed your mind. "So? One has the right to reflect in this life ... but in fact I haven't changed my mind on the substance."

The problem is, as with so much of Sarkozy's style, it's become familiar and tiresome. His scowls, his aggressiveness, his contempt for his interlocutor, his habit of making the form of the questioning the issue rather than the substance .... we've seen it all a thousand times before. It has ceased to be effective.

Insulting the President

No, I'm not talking about Laurent Fabius or Franz-Olivier Giesbert. I'm talking about a new book by Raphaël Meltz, which recounts the history of presidential insults, which have been a crime in France since 1881:
Simon Boubée, premier citoyen à avoir été condamné pour offense au président en vertu de la loi de 1881 sur la liberté de la presse, après avoir qualifié Jules Grévy de "voyou profanateur, goujat iconoclaste que l'Elysée a volé à la police correctionnelle" ; Barillier, conseiller municipal de Paris qui, en 1901, traite le président Emile Loubet de"cornichon pourri de l'Elysée" ; Antoine Blondin qui, en 1947, signe dans une revue proche de l'Action française un portrait au vitriol de Vincent Auriol - quelques mois plus tard, dans la même revue, le chef de l'Etat sera qualifié de "pauvre nouille bedonnante".
Ah. The good old days. I wish Fabius had come up with something as delciious as "pauvre nouille bedonnante" in his fencing with Sarkozy yesterday. "Violent ou peut-être virulent contre François Hollande": this really can't hold a candle to "cornichon pourri de l'Elysée" or "voyou profanateur, goujat iconoclaste." Nosiree.