Ridley Scott's Robin Hood opened the Golden Lion awards at Cannes. But this year's golden coffin will go to Alain Minc, the spin doctor who advises French president Nicholas Sarkozy.
Calling for limits on benefits to senior citizens, Minc has brought the death panel issue into France's 2012 presidential election debate. A flashmob of 89,000 reacted when influential French online resource Le Post published his views.
Transposed to the US political class, Minc's personal brand would be a mashup of Robert Rubin, Lloyd Blankfein and David Gergen. Now, with France still facing a credit crunch and going out on a limb to refinance the failed Greek economy, globalist Minc is using fear to scare money out of social programs like French senior care and into financial markets.
Speaking recently at Columbia University, president Sarkozy chided his US counterpart Barack Obama on health care, saying France solved that problem fifty years ago. Minc, meanwhile, wants to disassemble the successful system Sarkozy prides that serves as a model for many nations. A millionaire through shrewd investments, Minc has called the elder care benefits being received by his aging father a "luxury." But most senior citizens in France are hardly millionaires.
The death panel issue could get legs across the Euro-zone. Recent electoral setbacks to the Merkel government could provide more wish fulfillment to Minc and other globalists by putting the German social welfare programs on the cutting table. And with the IMF's Strauss-Kahn and others estimating that a stabilization fund of 750 billion Euros will be required, the issue is certain to get traction with the new Tory-Liberal coalition in Britain, and with the flagging economies in Spain and Portugal.
Latin America's top technocrat, Jose Serra, the neoconservative presidential candidate in Brazil, while not advocating a remake of the state infrastructure, is on the record noting that pensions and social programs pose long term risks to the national economy.
As France's leading globalist, Minc has worked the left and the right unchallenged for three decades. His strong stand against Cold War communism got him identified as a protege of philosopher and Le Figaro columnist Raymond Aron. But Aron always advocated a strong French state to preserve the national identity in the face of communism, while Minc has used the absence of a Cold War as an excuse to downsize government into the sort of lap dog democracy that globalists can dominate.
Minc's ideas have less to do with France than with the neoconservative globalism that was propagated on the eve of the Regan revolution by the American intellectuals Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, making him somewhat of an American invention. His writing gained notoriety in France around the time that former liberal Democrats Richard Perle and Eliot Abrams in the US broke with their early mentor senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson (a great friend of Israel who enjoyed the nickname "the senator from Boeing") flipping to the same neoconservative camp led by Kristol and Podhoretz.
In the incestuous world of French politics, Minc also maintains close relations with the socialist front runner in the 2012 presidential race, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. As managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Strauss-Kahn has the skillsets to find subtle ways of shrinking the French health care system. Minc recently gave a boost to his friend Strauss-Kahn by coming out strongly against the candidacy of Segolene Royal, who was defeated by Sarkozy in 2006.
Seeking favor with the French left could be one too many flip flops for Minc and provide an opening for Sarkozy, if he insulates himself from Minc's mojo, to gain support of the center where he needs it most.
The French daily Le Figaro reports that a recent focus group held by Sarkozy with 15 key legislators indicates that his image as a protector of the French way of life is now the key attribute for victory in the 2012 presidential vote. With Minc bringing death panels to the table Sarkozy has something to protect, notably, the French social security and health care system.
If Sarkozy mobilizes a populist groundswell the "grey power" vote could become a key element of his reelection strategy.