Despite His Dire Legal Problems, Could DSK Return To Politics?

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Please read the entire story before putting the vats of tar to boil and splitting the pillows for their feathery content.

My current piece on isn’t making the argument that Dominique Strauss-Kahn should return to politics once his current legal battle is over (which at any rate, if things go badly for him, could be several, slammer-lodged years down the line). Nor is it suggesting, expecting, or anticipating that the sexual assault and attempted rape accusations against him will be proven unfounded, mitigated, or otherwise insufficient to establish his guilt. No one’s side is being taken, and innocence (and, let’s face it, guilt, too) is being presumed. Indeed,  the article itself notes the scenarios in it are entirely dependent on the decision the jury in the Strauss-Kahn case. Meaning, if DSK plea bargains or is found guilty, the entire story becomes one big, Emily Litella “never mind” effort.

An effort, however, that seeks to take into account the shock, confusion, and disbelief still felt in France following DSK’s sudden, dramatic fall, and factor that into how French public opinion might respond to him if he were able to avoid being convicted of or admitting to the crimes against him. It outlines the requisite conditions that would even allow him to consider a return to public life, and–as a man who must be able to claim he wasn’t proven guilty of the crimes he was accused of–ask French voters to forgive him for all the other condemnable behavior he’s engaged in with women that’s now public record. Given the hardened attitudes and rising condemnation in France of male victimization of women in the wake of Strauss-Kahn’s disgrace, it may well be French public opinion has already heard too much about DSK to consider him worthy again of leadership roles. By contrast, it might soften and lean the other way regarding his individual case–figuring he paid his price in humiliation and exposure of the non-criminal charges leveled against him (and might finally be disinclined to resume his now notorious sexual beastliness). As the story notes, there are too many “ifs” involved to predict anything, so it instead maps out what would need to happen for Strauss-Kahn to even consider something that seems impossible to even contemplate just now. After all, stuff happens.

Or, to quote the popular disclaimer, “I”m just saying…”

Can Dominique Strauss-Kahn salvage a future in French politics? Despite his legal problems in the U.S., observers say his most optimistic backers are keeping alive scenarios of their champion somehow extricating himself from the catastrophic turn in his once-brilliant career. “There’s currently so much amazement, shock and perplexity over the speed and enormity of DSK’s fall that — in the minds of many people — any outcome in such a surreal situation remains possible,” says Denis Muzet, director of the Paris-based Mediascopie opinion-research group.

That scenario, as explicated by Muzet — whose firm analyzes public reaction to major political, social and economic issues — is one of redemption. “Supported by a leftist government wanting to use his talents,” posits Muzet, “Strauss-Kahn could go to the French public, tell his story, admit his errors and faults, and rebuild his relationship with the French people and win back their confidence. Despite his disgrace, there’s a lingering admiration for the leadership qualities that Strauss-Kahn demonstrated while in office.”
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