Political Animal


April 19, 2012 5:10 PM Sarkozy Goes All Sarah Palin

By Ed Kilgore

It’s begining to sink in with casual observers (like me) that French President Nicholas Sarkozy is very likely about to lose his job to Socialist Francois Holland. The first round of the presidential election is on Sunday, but in the certain second round against Holland that culminates on May 6, Sarkozy is trailing by double digits in most polls.

Perhaps the biggest sign of imminent defeat is that the incumbent is going all Sarah Palin, lashing out at the elitist left-wing media, even in a speech in a posh Paris suburb:

The incumbent, who is forecast to lose to Socialist Francois Hollande by some 10 percentage points in a May 6 run-off, chose an affluent suburb of Paris to hold his second-to-last rally before voters head to the polls on Sunday.
In a speech that swung between whispers and roars, Sarkozy promised to halve immigration, overhaul France’s unemployment scheme and push the European Union to impose tougher conditions on trade with emerging nations.
But the main thrust of his rally was an assault on opponents in the media and the so-called Parisian “caviar Left”, whom he accused of having decided on the election’s outcome before people had cast their votes.
“(The vote) will teach all those people a lesson like they have never been taught before,” he told some 500 flag-waving supporters, without specifying whether the “lesson” might be his re-election, a higher score than polls give him or something else….
As dark clouds gather over Sarkozy’s chances hours before a campaign blackout from midnight on Friday, the atmosphere among his supporters on Thursday was a blend of cautious hope, combativeness and defiance against the media.
“You journalists should be sitting in the back; you don’t deserve to be in front!” one elderly lady shouted at reporters at the rally in Saint-Maurice, a quaint town of 15,000 with a centre-right mayor.

Oh, brother. This may be a sign of things to come in the second-round campaign, when Sarkozy will be appealing for votes from the supporters of National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, bien sur, or as it might be translated: “You betcha!”

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • G.Kerby on April 19, 2012 5:15 PM:

    Yeah, and they speak French, too !

  • lawrence on April 19, 2012 5:46 PM:

    and you don't expect this from Romney this autumn? cripes, the lesson learned by the GOPers from McCain's defeat was not too go soft, not to say that Obama is a good man and not a muslim-socialist. this is what happens to politics during a "balance sheet" recession (or prolong period of deflation), right-wing populism gets a full airing.

  • Lev @ LibraryGrape.com on April 19, 2012 5:55 PM:

    Not a surprise at all. Sarkozy was going on a few weeks back about how France was all full of immigrants and the flow of them needed to stop. Wonder what his parents would have done when they were trying to flee Hungary during the '50s, had their son been in power then?

    Oh, these politicians. They're all the same, everywhere. If you want to be successful in that game, you can't hold anything sacred. Reading What It Takes was almost life-changing for me, the idea that if you want the big job, you have to be willing to give away everything. You might not necessarily HAVE to, but have to be willing to. Obama's not as bad as some, but it seems plainly obvious that not too long ago he really was a solid, almost doctrinaire liberal (how many Democrats supported gay marriage in the mid-90s? Or even a decade later?). How do you go from there to "I'm evolving" in 2012? Eh, whatever. Some things just aren't going to change.

  • Danp on April 19, 2012 5:56 PM:

    I wish I were a female radio shock jock with an Alaska accent right about now.

  • TCinLA on April 19, 2012 6:53 PM:

    I wish I were a female radio shock jock with an Alaska accent right about now.

    Were there really that many Minnesotans who moved to Alaska during the Gold Rush? Of course, they would have been used to the winters, don't'cha know?

    According to a good Socialist friend in France, even Sarko's supporters don't really like him all that much. Sort of like Willard.

  • CJWhite on April 20, 2012 8:33 AM:

    We totally need to do that campaign blackout thins here in the US. What a brain-saver that would be in the day before the election.