So goes the slogan for the favored French Socialist candidate for that country’s presidency, Segolene Royal. The party will make its choice today. A telling excerpt from the article: "Most predict Royal will emerge victorious, despite her halting performance at six debates leading up to the vote . . . The least politically experienced of the three potential Socialist leaders, Royal has struggled to articulate formulas for France’s deficit and stumbled in questions about
Iran’s nuclear program, but she retains widespread appeal . . . Polls show people like her because they think she understands the French better than any other politician — regardless of whether she has specific policies to run the country."
But even more telling are the comments from the French political analysts and voters interviewed for the article: "She has a unique card: She’s a woman. She says, ’I am modern, I am new,’" said Dominique Moisi, a political analyst. Or this beauty: "She does politics differently. With her, I rediscovered hope," said Joelle, a supporter from the southern town of Ariege attending one of the debates and wearing a sticker saying "For us, it’s her."
As few as 5 years ago one might have looked at that kind of Oprah-esque political insight, confidently rolled ones eyes and remarked, "Only in France." But here’s the rub: the French socialists hesitate to support Royal because they are uncertain of how she will fare in the general election against the candidate from the right. (Then again, they also think that discrimination is the cause of the Paris riots.) It is American conservatives, on the other hand, who seem to be ready to lead the retreat away from the equally vacuous--but obviously feared--Mrs. Clinton. Ms. Royal, in a remark that almost had me wanting to wear her buttons, had this to say about her coming fight for the presidency: "The battle of 2007 will be rough but beautiful . . . I don’t fear it." I don’t know about beautiful, but 2008 will be plenty rough for conservatives if we give in to fear. As the current White House occupant is fond of saying . . . "Bring it on."