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Here's the problem with the "Tout sauf Sarko" strategy. Its very difficult for Royal to launch the sort of all-out attack that would be necessary for this to win. She can't use her official tv spots to attack him, and she doesn't have the sort of contacts with journalists that would allow her campaign to place stories reminding voters of the umpteen reasons that Sarkozy is to be feared. Only Canard and Libe and some left-leaning blogs have really been pushing those stories, and anyone who reads those had better already be in her camp.

If it were an American election, the strategy would be clear -- destroy him.

But sadly she needs for him to make another mistake, on the order of "genetique" or "racaille" -- but I think with the strong position he holds, he's going to campaign as if on whatever anti-anxiety medication his campaign logo was stolen from: blue skies, flying birds, soft music sweetly resonating "Ensemble..."

She needs to force him to make a mistake, and he's eminently capable of doing it. I think the only way for her really to put pressure on him is to start to make big inroads, fast, into the Bayrou electorate and the way to do that, as I posted yesterday, is to propose a full-scale agenda for institutional reform of parties, elections, finance (especially!) and the state. Sadly, though, its Sarko who is already gaining control of this terrain, proposing a "pole centriste" to his governing coalition; that should have been the first words out her mouth Sunday night.

I realize this is precisely the opposite of what Melanchthon is proposing, but it seems to me that a real "ouverture" and moreover a real promise to dissolve and build a true coalition of the center-left party -- managed capitalism, a more efficient public sector (yes); pro-European (with social and environmental orientation), and for that (much needed) populist edge, a challenge to the predominance of the financial-political elite.

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 11:59:22 AM EST
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It is not at all the opposite of what I'm proposing. I agree with putting the focus on institutions change, the rule of law and a clean state. In fact, that's what Ségolène Royal is proposing to Bayrou in her call, especially focusing on the "impartial" state.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 12:13:54 PM EST
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Ok, glad we agree. Where I think I differ is that I'm not sure an alliance of the "alternative left" can be much of a factor in this election. With respect to May 6, I think Royal has all the votes to her left she is going to get.

Beyond the election, I think its an important element of public debate largely because of the power of its arguments (and the appeal of its spokes-persons such as Bove and Besancenot) but like Hulot's "ecological pact," there is not actually a mass support of voters behind it.

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 12:33:37 PM EST
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Actually re-reading your post above, I think we do agree on "how she can win" and perhaps also on whether or not the "pole radical" can be an electoral force in the future?
by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 12:35:51 PM EST
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What must Royal say in the debates which would give hope to the French people but at the same time; differentiate herself greatly from Sarko? My fear is her trying to triangulate gives credence to Sarko's position.

Clinton's triangulation gave the US Bush and Blair's triangulation will possibly give the UK,Cameron so triangulation allows the right wignuts like Sarko to be chameleon-like since the opposition is also.

Differentiate herself from him in the debate; define in a calm, focused way what will be destroyed by Sarko if he is elected seems to be her only move now and hope women will want to vote en masse since it is the women's time to be President. After all, the men have had too many chances, unfulfilled promises and outsized egoes to do any good.

by An American in London on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 12:34:11 PM EST
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...he's going to campaign as if on whatever anti-anxiety medication his campaign logo was stolen from...

This reminds me: Has anyone asked the question of which meds he (might be/is) taking when he gets these migraines he suffers. I saw one poster of him today that looked pretty drugged out in the eyes.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 05:56:33 PM EST
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That's a tricky game even in the often-mindless circus of American politics.  It can backfire quite easily if the attacks are seen to be way over the line, especially in a general election.  The Republicans launched vicious, xenophobic, racist attack ads on the Dems' views of immigration last year, especially in the Deep South, Midwest and Southwest -- the thought apparently being that Mexicans would trump the war, for some reason.  They backfired.  (Funny story: Turns out -- as I've been telling my fellow political junkies here in the states for years it would -- that Americans love to gripe about illegal immigration, but that, at the end of the day, they really don't give a shit.)  The Republicans looked like exactly what they are: vicious, xenophobic and racist, in addition to incompetent (already a given by that point).

Strategically, even if Royal could launch a massive attack, it would be highly risky to say that Sarko is dangerous -- the risk being that she would make it impossible for voters to take her seriously if they didn't perceive Sarko to be truly dangerous.  If you're going to call a candidate dangerous, you'd better have a reason, or you'd better make one up very quickly.  There had better be some serious evidence that he is either preparing to try to take over the world or having sex with his dog or something.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 07:58:45 PM EST
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I agree with you: a negative strategy is doomed to fail (see my comments above).

There had better be some serious evidence that he is either preparing to try to take over the world or having sex with his dog or something

If he was preparing to take over the world, he would be elected with an overwhelming majority: the French still love Bonaparte... For the dog, it's his private life and we don't care...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 09:32:05 PM EST
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Drew, don't know where you live but where I do -- Nevada -- xenophobic attacks on "illegal immigrants" work just fine.

An entirely misleading ad implying that our candidate favored drivers' licenses for "illegal immigrants" sunk the progressive campaign I worked on last year, by taking away a lot of moderate to conservative Democratic voters -- even though they knew the conservative republican would be terrible (as he's turned out to be). Even a lot of people who ended up voting for us didn't understand why she wanted to "give extra rights to illegal immigrants."

And its the gift that keeps on giving -- once established that public services go to "illegal immigrants," it allows republicans to challenge otherwise highly popular programs such as college tuition assistance, publicly subsidized health care or even additional funding for kindergarten.

To keep this on topic, the line that it would only make him look idiotic is what everyone said about LePen in the 70s and 80s.

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 10:58:32 PM EST
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