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I'm bringing over here the rest of a comment I started in the Salon at the end of this subthread.

After saying Royal was authoritarian and contemptuous, and linking to some anti-Ségo sites that bring up anecdotes about her, oldfrog said:

My point is very simple : Ségolène is not a worthy candidate of the French left. She could be even more to the left, I wouldn't care, if she was sincere. I could disagree with her, but with respect. In the current case I find her dangerous because she'll be the reason why Sarko is elected, if Bayrou doesn't make it.

I began to reply:

Look, we don't agree about the "worthy candidate". I'm not a crazy Ségolènophile, but the things you link to are really pretty unconvincing. As I said earlier, you could get up a file of objections to almost any political figure in this way (I'm not saying the allegations are all untrue, mind: but most of them are petty).

What is true is that the PS didn't have a natural candidate (unlike François Mitterand or Lionel Jospin), perhaps because François Hollande, whatever his qualities, is neither charismatic nor an authoritative figure (I say authoritative, not authoritarian!). So there was a fight in the PS, and there are a good many there who haven't really accepted the 60% vote in SR's favour. (See the third of your links, quotes from PS bigshots who don't like her and would mostly have preferred Jospin or DSK).

Another question that occurs to me...

So the other question is simply about gender. It's not a cop-out (people are mean to Royal because she's a woman..!) but I don't understand why an authoritarian streak is seen as such an intolerable or repulsive thing in a woman, whereas it's rarely the case that male politicians don't have an authoritarian streak. I'm not saying I like the authoritarian-streaky-people. I'm not sure I like Royal. I didn't like Jospin or Mitterand, who both, cough cough, had an authoritarian streak and a contemptuous way of speaking to people. It's just that I note that it's never such a big problem when male politicians exhibit that kind of behaviour.

And I think gender archetypes really have a lot to do with this campaign and the unspoken story the media suggest subliminally.

As to your final point, I never saw any PS elephant as convincing enough to beat Sarkozy. With the possible exception of DSK, if he'd really got on his bike. Jospin left the scene and lost visibility and credibility. He also thus failed to fight for the left and for his own achievements in government, with the result that the right has been able to dislocate and drag them in the mud for five years. And Jospin should come back from retirement and expect to be candidate?

So it's a bit of a heavy load, saying that if Sarko wins, it'll be Royal's fault. If Sarko wins, it'll be because he's an extremely competitive candidate backed by the bosses and a very Sarko-friendly media. Not that I like to see failings in Royal's campaign or in her personal communication. But it's a lot easier to look like you have a good campaign and you're relaxed, when you know the journalists aren't going to ask you any hard qweschuns.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 01:29:07 PM EST

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