Monday, June 6, 2016

La Politique Politicienne

As predicted, Nicolas Sarkozy has enlisted François Baroin, former minister of the economy, mayor of Troyes, and head of the association of French mayors for his presidential campaign against Alain Juppé. Baroin has allegedly been promised Matignon if Sarko wins, and this long-coveted prize was apparently enough to overcome any scruples he might have about Sarko's politics (the enmity between the two men, personal as well as political, goes back to 1995, when they worked in subaltern roles for rival presidential campaigns).

Of course, this alliance will strain the already existing alliance between Sarko and another ambitious young man, Laurent Wauquiez. Wauquiez has embraced the hard right, the xenophobic right, while Baroin, who recently approved of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo's announcement that she will open a camp for refugees in Paris, is meant to demonstrate that la gauche n'a pas le monopole du coeur. Nor does it have a monopoly of cynicism, as the NS-FB hookup demonstrates.

Politics, they say, makes strange bedfellows, but there's nothing strange about this duo, which has been a long time in the making. It's always entertaining to watch the burying of the hatchets, which generally coincides with the sharpening of the long knives. Time to bet on when the first back-stabbing will occur, and who will receive the shiv.

Students of ambition will also want to watch carefully how Bruno Le Maire and Xavier Bertrand, the other two members of LR's Four Quadras of the Apocalypse, handle Baroin henceforth.