Jean-Marie Le Pen is doing his best to counter the supposed transformation of the Front National desired and to some extent achieved by his daughter. Yesterday he blamed the massacre in Norway on "multicultural elites" that failed to respond with appropriate force to "the colonization of Europe" by Muslims. The party's official position had previously been to condemn the massacre unequivocally and to express solidarity with the people of Norway. But Le Pen père seems unwilling to disassociate himself from violence in what he considers to be the righteous cause of Islamophobia, even if he calls the agent of that violence "fou."
There's no point trying to parse J.-M. Le Pen's precise intent. What his words reveal is a state of mind that is no doubt widely shared on the extreme right but that a younger generation has learned to veil more skillfully than the always disinhibited Jean-Marie, whose inveterate taste for provocation is now abetted by a semi-senile crumbling of the garde-fous that would normally prevent a politician, even of the extreme right, from associating himself with a mass murderer of children.
Polls earlier this year had shown Marine Le Pen with remarkably high first-round scores in a variety of cas de figure. Her numbers had already subsided somewhat before her father's outburst. One can hope that they will subside further in the wake of this latest verbal atrocity by the honorary president of her party.