Monday, April 02, 2007

le petit nain de jardin

Another week in French politics flies by dizzyingly. Segolene fires up a crowd and they sing the Marseilles twice with passion. She releases her book, Matignon and it is barely mentioned in the media and very hard to find in the local book stores. Meanwhile, Nikolas releases another this overkill? The book has a vivid Red White and Blue cover in blatant violation of campaign rules. Simone Veil, the holocaust survivor who was very instrumental in the womans rights movement here, left the Bayrou campaign and shockingly went over to Nikolas. The only reason anyone could imagine is the illogical support the Jewish intellectual community has given Sarkozy. He is the only candidate that is sympathetic to Israel in their persecution of the Palestinians. He also supports George Bush and the "War On Terror". He seems to be taking a lot of pages from the Neo Con and Karl Rove textbooks. The support of Simone Veil lasted 5 days, then she publicly broke with him yesterday over his ambiguous statements on his "Ministry fo Immigration and National Identity". Meanwhile the personal smear campaign by the ex Finance director of the Socialist Party, Eric Besson seems to have backfired. His little book sold, but now the sttory is that the big mans' delicate ego couldn't stand that Segolene had brought in younger economists to formulate the Socialists economic strategy.
That's why the attack was so personal and vicious, it also explains why the book is not being taken seriously. Meanwhile, Nikolas' Neuilly apartment scandal has gone to another level with an investigative article in last Thursdays Nouvelle Obs, bribery, theft, intimidation and a mysterious murder all swirl around the multi million dollar apartment and its renovation in the swank quarter that Sarko is mayor of.
Last week saw a provoked riot in the Gare du Nord by kids who saw a man beaten by the police for jumping the turnstiles. Instantly, an army of police appeared and battle lines were drawn and the action was caught by the startled bystanders on their cellphone cameras. It seemed to be custom made to order for Sarkozys speech later that evening. He criticized all the other candidates on their soft stance on crime when they tried to analyze the cause of the trouble. Segolene said his commentw were ignoble, and he stated the next day that she said that he was ignoble! Tonight she called him an out and out liar on a live TV program...the sparks will fly because of that.
This is the first time she has personally attacked him after weeks of being the victime of attacks and smears from his side and she was strong! The velvet gloves are off, she was dressed in black leather.
A lot of press about how the corporations that support Sarkozy also control the polling here. The great thing about Segolene is that her campaign is grass roots and covers hundreds of kilometers everyday with small and large meetings of give and take. She is by far the most traveled candidate. Bove is all over the place and has stated that he supports Segolene and will give her his whole hearted support in the second tour of the election. He seems to have a real rapport with the city minority kids. His record of putting himself personally in danger and on the line for his beliefs has made him a folk hero. LePen is a real threat, he is the real third man in this election. In the south, the mindless racism he espouses is a real thing. The numbers don't show up in the polls because many people are ashamed to say they support him, but the numbers of secret Front National votes are always shocking. Bayrou is running out of steam, now at 17%, slowly sinking into irrelevance. The 4 communist party candidates are a mystery to me. Tthey all seem to be competing with each other and spending more time attacking the Socialists than Sarkozy. I sometimes think that there is an unspoken strategy, draw enough votes away from the Socialists to force a LePen/Sarkozy race which would assure an outcome of utter chaos, no matter which one won. I really like Olivier Besancenot and in a better world, I would give him my whole hearted support, but his rhetoric is undeniably revolutionary and the chaos that would result from a LePen or Sarkozy win would only make the Communists stronger as a force and insure the survival of another way in a world where the choices were becoming too much like Coke or Pepsi.......?

No comments: