Thursday, September 15, 2016
I am beginning to wonder if Nicolas Sarkozy is not working to elect Marine Le Pen. He has adapted Goldwater's slogan in the service of himself: Extremism in the defense of Nicolas Sarkozy is no vice. Now he has added climate change denial to his list of sins, repudiating his own previous position on the issue. "We human beings must be arrogant to think that it is we who cause climate change." The Good Lord may be flattered by this nod to his transcendent powers, but Sarko's intended audience is the working-class voters whose jobs Marine Le Pen has promised to protect (or bring back) by exempting factories from any need to rein in their emissions. Whether there are any votes to be won here remains to be seen, but Sarkozy has meanwhile demonstrated that he deserves his old epithet L'Américain. But its meaning has changed. Previously it signified that he was a supply-side tax-cutter, a neoliberal in the Reagan-Bush mold. Now it means that he has become Donald Trump: a shameless prevaricator who will say and do anything to gain advantage. Post-truth politics has come to France.