Sarkozy is both lurching to the right and playing the European statesman card. Acknowledging that the next five years would be different from the first five, he continued to call for separate referenda on both immigration and on unemployment benefits, with French unemployment at a 12-year high of 9.3 percent. Sarkozy harkened back to his 2007 message of rupture with the past; he noted that for 30 or 40 years, work has been devalued, and he promised that anyone with the health and desire to work will have a job or training:
Depuis trente ou quarante ans, on a dévalorisé le travail. Mon projet, c’est de mettre le travail au centre de tout. Tous ceux qui ont la force la santé pour travailler auront un emploi ou une formation. Et ceux qui n’en peuvent plus, qui sont malades, on aura la solidarité.
He also noted that France and Europe cannot pretend that they are not in the midst of a crisis — intimating, of course, that it is no time to change leaders in one of the two countries vital to the continued aversion of a Europe-wide implosion.
Nothing I can write about the policy or political substance of the reelection announcement, however, compares with the social media campaign that the Sarkozy team has put together, which is nothing short of ‘shock and awe’.