Monday, December 18, 2006

Trainwreck for Sarkozy?

Siegfried Mortkowitz of the German Press Agency has a comprehensive analysis of Nicolas Sarkozy's recent mistakes, including rather lackluster debates, a bad web strategy, not capitalizin on Royal's Mid-East mistakes, and surrounding himself with pop stars that hurt his reputation. Mortkowitz concludes that these minor gaffes may not be of great importance now, but can take a heavy toll if not corrected.
None of these gaffes was Sarkozy's fault. But because he has always presented himself as a paragon of competence and good judgment he is being tarred for the sins of his supporters.

Despite all this, the interior minister remains popular, and he can count on next month's UMP congress - which is virtually certain to name him the party standard-bearer in the elections - to give his campaign a publicity-fuelled shot in the arm.

But Sarkozy has lost the early campaign skirmishes and, unless he recovers quickly, could soon be in danger of losing the war.

He also finds an inherent weakness in the way Sarkozy has been attacking Segolene Royal, which will have to change if Sarkozy starts to fall in the polls.
In fact, Sarkozy seems generally to be at a loss about how to combat Royal. He honed his pugnacious style in political battles against men, and has apparently chosen to trade in his boxing gloves for mitts of suede when dealing with her, a dubious strategy since it deprives him of one of his primary strengths.

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