The president who wanted to elevate the debate

Before being elected, Emmanuel Macron had theorized the presidential function. The responsibility of a leader is to feed on the best of ideas to give meaning to action and speak truthfully to French people. In 2016, in the weekly 1he assures : “What has disappeared from the political field is the explanation. »

The path of the quinquennium has in fact been marked out with long speeches which impressed the interlocutors, such as those of the Sorbonne, in September 2017, on Europe or that of the Bernardins of April 2018 at the address of Catholics. “His mark is a pedagogical concern and a very demonstrative style, analyzes the linguist Damon Mayaffre, who has deciphered his speeches (1). The use of “because” is its lexical signature. The recurring use of “and therefore” reflects his concern for consistency throughout his speeches. »

Macron’s verb also reveals a distancing of ideologies and dogmas to introduce complexity and nuance. “In all his interventions, the president seeks to produce movement”, explains the linguist, with for example the use of the suffix “-tion” as in Revolution (the title of his 2016 book) or “conversion”, the word most used by the president. A use to the detriment of the suffix “-ism”, referring to an ideology that freezes, such as populism or separatism, “employed at home only in a pejorative sense”.

This expression of President Macron, however, has its detractors, like the philosopher Philippe-Joseph Salazar, a specialist in rhetoric, who struggles to find the depth of a thought in it. He sees there rather the line “a managerial communication specific to the circles of enarques and business school graduates”. As revealed, he observes, the constant use of the word ” project “ or to the expression “carry out a project”.

More generally, Philippe-Joseph Salazar deplores the fact that over the past twenty years, pedagogism has damaged democratic life. “The political leader has become the HRD who comes before the workers to present the social plan. There is no defense of a thought, which is the stake of oratorical art, since everything is written in advance. »

Disagree, the philosopher Olivier Abel on the contrary salutes a constructed discourse, and a thought that finds roots in that of Paul Ricœur. “As the author of yourself as another, Emmanuel Macron thinks that in a context where the decision is complex, a kind of practical wisdom leads to choosing the solution of the lesser evil. » This Macronian realism also takes a more positive form, believes the philosopher: “There is an optimism in him that is based on the search for an optimum, that is to say that the combination of all forces will give a chance to improve the situation. »

On the other hand, Emmanuel Macron did not retain from Ricœur the function of utopia, of the force of the imagination, explains Olivier Abel, which translates into a lack of ambition on certain major issues, such as the immigration or the ecological crisis.

On the form, Damon Mayaffre underlines that he is, with Georges Pompidou, the president of the Vand Republic in “richest register”. The analysis of his speeches reveals long sentences (30 words on average against 20 at Nicolas Sarkozy or François Hollande), the use of the past simple, rare words, or quotations from authors.

A demanding bias which will however have been disturbed, throughout the five-year term, by untimely declarations on the “crazy dough” social benefits or, lately on the unvaccinated that the president had “wanting to piss off”. A ploy analyzed by communication specialists as a solution to the problem of the trivialization of presidential speech. Even a way of throwing a stone into the pond to capture attention and keep control of the media agenda.


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