30 April 2007

"all antiliberal forces"

That's a neat phrase, which I take from a story in today's Wall Street Journal.

The story concerns the French presidential campaign. The second round of voting is set for this Sunday, May 6, and pits the top two vote getters from the first round against one another. The top first-round vote getter was Gaullist Nicolas Sarkozy (31.18%).

The runner up was Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal, with 25.87% of the vote.

Though I usually distrust left/right spectral analyses in politics, I haven't studied the French situation with sufficient care to critique the Wall Street Journal's spectrum-driven analysis, so I'll merely summarize it here. There were six first-round candidates to Royal's left, who collectively received 10.57% of the vote. There was a centrist candidate (between Royal and Sarkozy) who received 18.57%. And there were three candidates to the right of Sarkozy, who received 13.82%.

The article's emphasis was on the difficulties that Royal is facing consolidating her base. She's presumably want to be able to take for granted not only her own 26% first-round votes, but the first-round votes to the left of her, who presumably see her as preferable to Sarkozy. If she could take them for grahted, she could then compete with Sarkozy for the centrist votes, those who went for Francois Bayrou in the first round.

Here is where the neat phrase that I've used above as a title comes in. This weekend, a Socialist named Henri Emmanuelli held a press conference stating his unhappiness with Royal. He apparently thinks of her as the French Tony Blair, co-opting a socialist party for the bourgeois. He advocated the creating of a new leftist party ... which would presumably mean sitting out the second round. The new leftist party will encompass "all antiliberal" forces.

Liberal in the context of French politics means, roughly, market-driven. I find it refreshing to be reminded of that usage of the term so vigorously, because in the US of late the term has been used as a sort of cussword by the right, as a way of lumping together our Royals with our Emmanuellis, so to speak. The Clintons with the Kucinichs. Actually, it's hard to identify a politician in the US who has views at all like Emmanuelli who is taken at all seriously, so one is driven to invoke the amusing figure of Dennis Kucinich here.

At any rate, the polls are so far favoring Sarkozy. Time will tell.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.