Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Valls to Cazeneuve

Bernard Cazeneuve is the new prime minister. The volume at Matignon will be dialed down from 12 to 6 or 7, but security policy will become no less firm. Otherwise the governmental changes appear to be cosmetic. The phrase "shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic" is not only a cliché but also too kind to what remains of Hollandia, because the Titanic had survivors, while the good ship Hollande will sink without a trace.

Unless, of course, Manuel Valls pulls off a miracle and somehow arrives at the Elysée. Current polls rate his chances as slim to none. He is running behind both Macron and Mélenchon. Of course he hasn't yet begun whatever strategy he has in mind to separate himself from the president and project a vision of Vallsism different from that of Hollandism, so he is still saddled with all the baggage of the ancien régime. But it's hard to see how he can possibly shed this baggage. It must be galling to Valls to see Macron, who should be sandbagged by the same set of policies, leap out ahead with his winning smile and softshoe routine. But that, for now, is the reality. Polling at this stage (and perhaps right up to the end) is to be viewed warily, however.

Still, in the end, no poll has any of the "left" candidates getting anywhere close to the second round as long as the three principals remain in the race, so it's all moot, except perhaps in positioning for 2022.


Rédaction Contreligne said...

Valls is a respectable and decent politician (at least by French standards) but what he is coming up with now against Fillon, Macron and Le Pen is no more than "Debout les Morts". Sad.

christopher delogu said...

dear mr. goldhammer,

"the good ship Hollande will sink without a trace" Oh really?

i think it can be said with near certainty that Hollande's departure will not provoke genocide or mass-suicide in france, will not lead to the departure of the other older white men who mostly run the country, nor will civil servants below the upper tier or two lose their jobs. so what "ship" exactly are you talking about?

dear 1st commenter: i would be more inclined to view mr. valls as a "respectable and decent politician" if he and his cohort would back off trying to extend the veil ban to france's public university system. either the left defends france's republican values in a spirit of inclusiveness or it's going to lose -- and deserve to!

mr. valls's catalan-bred have-it-both-ways divisiveness is doomed to failure because it just reeks of hypocrisy and many people will just prefer to have their shot of xenophobic, white nativism straight up served by MLP or Fillon.

the french left can either learn from the American Democratic party's mistakes, or repeat them and lose.

stronger together mustn't just be a slogan.

c. jon delogu
professor, poet, translator
pr, univ jean moulin, lyon3

Passerby said...

Under the Fifth Republic, no Prime Minister was ever elected President right after exiting his mandate. At that moment, popularity ratings are just too low.
How could Valls, Prime Minister under the most unpopular President ever, and who has antagonized the left wing of his own party, think that he has a single chance?

I honestly don't understand what Vall's strategy is. To me, if he really wanted to run he should have resigned at least year ago (pour laisser assez d'eau couler sous les ponts), or stick to Hollande until the end and position himself for 2022.

I understand that he didn't want to quit the job early to later see Hollande running alone for the left. But how can he not see that he is cornered and that his 2017 run is already dead?

Either he is in complete denial (much like Sarkozy believing he could win the primary). Or he knows that it a very long shot, but thinks that he might never had another chance to run for president.

bert said...

”Stronger together” was always just a slogan, Christopher.
Can anyone look at that document and not feel the blood draining from their brain?
There's been some self-serving talk from Clinton people about how she inspired young people to public service. Leaden machine politics and bone-deep professional incompetence inspires noone.

On French Politics, it seems to me that there's a battle, yet to be won, to make the PS primary about something other than 2022.

FrédéricLN said...

Manuel Valls had to run because "the show must go on", the networks in the place since 2012 cannot be left maudering in the political streets. Only the official defeat on election day is a legitimate opportunity for them to fly away towards other teams.

Manuel Valls wanted to run, maybe because he thinks of 2022, maybe because he overestimated his own appeal to voters, maybe because he overlooks his competitors' abilities, or whatever; anyway he had to want to run because he is the guy in charge of running. In politics, Lamarck is right too, la fonction crée l'organe.

Now my matter of concern is: what do the French expect of/as the next President? I just don't know, but I should. I will :-)

What I'm sure of: so far, they haven't found the right person for their understanding of the job. So, the polls just reflect opinions about the past and media coverage of the present.

(Just for illustration : the permanent polling on the "Gov" app, with ~100,000 claimed participants in France, ranks Jean Lassalle as 2nd most approved political person after François Fillon, 50% vs. 46%. But, that is only qualitative feedback, many people think that "he cannot be President", or "the system would not let him in", or "I can't imagine him in front of Trump or Putin". OK… why? what is the "ex ante" judgment about the figure of the President, that excludes a seasoned MP as Jean Lassalle is. Is it a sustainable and well-grounded judgment, or is it just a kind of blindness, a little bit like all these "You can believe me — this guy will NEVER become President of the United States"? I don't know.)

Passerby said...

@Frederic LN: I can't claim to be representative of "the French", but personally I see a slam dunk for Fillon.

The left has already lost and knows it. Making it to the second round would already be a miracle. Bayrou never managed to build a credible alternative at the center, I don't see him appealing to the masses now.

Aside from Fillon, the only politician with some tailwind is Le Pen. But her dream scenario of being pitted against Hollande & Sarkozy never materialized. I am convinced that in the current configuration she doesn't stand a chance.

She grew a strong base of extreme-right and depressed blue collar voters, but Fillon has all the right behind him. And he while gets a good chunk of the left voters on the second turn (many public servants will not show-up to vote for him, but Marine for president is just not an option for most).
My money is on a 70% win for Fillon against Le Pen.