buter sur son camp

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MelB

Senior Member
United States English
From an article in the on-line Le Monde today quoting Valéry Giscard d'Estaing about Ségolène Royal,

"Je le dis depuis plusieurs mois, ne sous-estimez pas la personnalité, la place de Ségolène Royal" a-t-il affirmé tout en pronostiquant qu'"elle va buter sur son camp".

I didn't understand the expression, "elle va buter sur son camp." "Buter" seems to mean "stumble." Does this mean he expects her to have problems with her party -- to stumble . . . But he's said don't underestimate her. These two thoughts seem contradictroy.
 
  • jimreilly

    Senior Member
    American English
    I too was curious about this phrase when I saw it. I took it to mean she might gain more popularity with the general public because she was willing to confront problems (or things perceived as problems) in her own party, perhaps parallel to the way a Republican might distance him/herself from fundamentalist radicals or a Democrat from the extreme left wing in order to gain popularity with the middle. But I have no idea if this was on the mark at all! Some french person can help us, I hope, MelB!
     

    Sanda

    Senior Member
    France
    MelB said:
    From an article in the on-line Le Monde today quoting Valéry Giscard d'Estaing about Ségolène Royal,

    "Je le dis depuis plusieurs mois, ne sous-estimez pas la personnalité, la place de Ségolène Royal" a-t-il affirmé tout en pronostiquant qu'"elle va buter sur son camp".

    I didn't understand the expression, "elle va buter sur son camp." "Buter" seems to mean "stumble." Does this mean he expects her to have problems with her party -- to stumble . . . But he's said don't underestimate her. These two thoughts seem contradictroy.
    You did get it right, she is having trouble with the Socialists, because she's made propositions similar to those of the right-wing party (and approved by extreme right parties). She said, for instance, that young delinquents should (would, if she were elected) be put in military-run camps ("établissements à encadrement militaire") - her father is in the military - and that triggered off the left-wing parties' protests.

    The "bad" word in France has been "sécurité" for some time now: traditionally, the left-wing parties do not think that more repression is the answer, whereas the right-wing parties only talk of harsher repression. That this very field should be the one that Ségolène Royal actually developped has amazed many.

    Giscard, right-wing, knows that many people in France agree with more repression, which is why Royal shouldn't be underestimated; but he's pointing out the fact that she will have many opponents in her own party - her own husband for one thing, who has publicly criticized her views.
     

    MelB

    Senior Member
    United States English
    Thanks Sandra. I guess, it was the "sur" that confused me a little . . . which in English means "on." It's possible it didn't quite translate literally, "stumble on her camp [party]," but I guess I caught the sense of it. Also, I didn't understand the politics that you've explained so clearly. Sometimes, with our political parties here in America, we have the same thing. A candidate from one party, either out of personal conviction or trying to position himself for the general election (by moving towards the center), antagoizes his/her own party. The Republican, John McCain might be an example of that. He has positions on Immigration and abortion, which might help in general election against the Democrats, but probably, because of these positions, will badly hurt his ability to get the nomination of his Republican party.
     
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