Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Slicing the Political Salami Ever Thinner

Valérie Pécresse has officially launched her "movement," Libres ! (Has Macron's En Marche ! unleashed an epidemic of exclamation points?) She wants, according to Le Monde, to fill the space between Wauquiez and Les Constructifs. Xavier Bertrand also sits in this narrow niche of the political spectrum, which is in the process of being sliced up like salami by a proliferation of political entrepreneurs. Macron wanted to encourage risk-taking, and he has succeeded, at least among politicians, by pulverizing the opposition parties to the point where the ambitious see no point in sticking with their parties and plenty of reasons to depart for the wilderness with their bands of the faithful.

Pécresse is an able woman, well-spoken (adept even in English), a good conservative with an allergy to the Front National--in short, a plausible Republican présidentiable despite being charisma-challenged. But who knows? In five years' time, France may have tired of charisma or decided that Macron's was an ersatz and not the genuine article. It could be ready for une présidente normale who will have demonstrated her talents by taking Ile-de-France in hand. But she will have plenty of competition, and the salami can only be sliced so thin without losing its flavor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember being vaguely unimpressed when Pécresse canvased me once on the Paris metro (as I recall it was NKM who ran for mayor of Paris; Pécresse must have been running to lead Ile-de-France). She seems fine, but the salami tendency Art describes is dangerous. If every political tendency produces a party and they all run for president, the Fifth Republic will be well and truly broken. The force that drives it is the cordon around the FN. That cordon will eventually have to break. There is really no good reason for Wauquiez, or for the political descendants of Fillion and Sarkozy, to refuse to ally themselves from the FN. The only real reason for Pécresse and Bertrand to stay away from Macron and Phillipe is tactical: they want there to be a right-wing opposition to Macron that is not extreme. This position will makes sense only if Macron completely and the center-right voters who support him defect en masse to the Republicans (whom Pécresse or Bertrand will have kept sufficiently moderate). The real existierender opposition to Macron is the FN and the parts of the Republicans who are indistinguishable from the FN. There are a lot of them and if they unite around Wauquiez he stands a good chance of getting elected. Pécresse is doing her part by keeping the right divided, I suppose.