Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Mélenchon Rally at the Bastille

Arun Kapil has pictures and commentary.

The Polls

There's been a lot of discussion of polling on the net these past few days. For an introduction to the many critiques, start here. The writer makes a point I've often wondered about: why is there no French equivalent of Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com? Nate is a statistics maven who analyzes all the polls and corrects for the deficiencies of each to arrive at a "meta" prediction. He has a pretty good track record. France needs its own Nate Silver.

Desjardins on Hollande and Mélenchon

Thierry Desjardins:
Alors qu’aujourd’hui François Hollande était au cirque (d’hiver), Jean-Luc Mélenchon, lui, reprenait la Bastille. Les symboles sont évidemment un peu faciles à trouver. Mais il est vrai que l’un faisait le clown en jouant les funambules devant des artistes très parisiens et que l’autre faisait la révolution au milieu du peuple du gauche.
Au-delà de l’anecdote, on est bien obligé de reconnaitre que si Hollande s’enlise un peu dans les sondages et les banalités socialistes, Mélenchon, lui, apparait déjà comme « la »surprise de cette campagne présidentielle et, si personne, bien sûr, n’imagine une seule seconde qu’il puisse être élu, tout le monde commence à se demander s’il ne sera pas le vrai vainqueur de ce premier tour de scrutin, avec un score totalement inattendu qui obligera aussitôt Hollande à donner un véritable coup de barre à gauche, puis, élu, à appeler Mélenchon au gouvernement et à donner quelques maroquins à des communistes.

Grunberg on Mélenchon's Rise

For Gérard Grunberg, there are limits to Mélenchon's rise: if he approaches the 15% that the extreme left won in 2002, there will be strong pressure for a "vote utile" that will drive some of his supporters back to Hollande.

DSK at Cambridge

Another important note from Bernard Girard, who points us toward the paper that DSK gave at the University of Cambridge, "A Tale of Three Trilemmas." In it, the former IMF head considers the Mundell-Fleming trilemma, the Dani Rodrik trilemma, and the Jean-Pisani Ferry trilemma concerning, respectively, open-economy macroeconomics, the politics of globalization, and the governance of the European monetary system. He draws the consequences of recent crises and says that we have learned that new institutions are required to deal with problems of globalization that cannot be resolved by the market.

This paper makes me regret all the more the political loss due to DSK's disqualification from politics, which cannot be undone. If he had been the left's candidate instead of Hollande, there might have been a genuine debate over the nature of globalization rather than what we have now: avoidance of debate and/or pandering to the extremes by simply denouncing globalization as if it could be reversed or moderated at will. As a politician, DSK had many shortcomings, but his grasp of crucial issues might have elevated the level of discussion, win or lose. Hollande seems to want to occupy the part of the spectrum that DSK once occupied, the center left, without assuming the responsibility of developing a clear center-left alternative to the ill-begotten austerity consensus forged by Merkel and Sarkozy. A pity. Perhaps even a tragedy.

Merkel Is Furious with Sarkozy

Via my blogging confrère, the always excellent Bernard Girard. I'm glad to see that somebody besides me was outraged by Sarkozy's Villepinte pandering.

Arun Kapil Offers a Nuanced View

Arun Kapil defends Hollande's campaign against my criticisms. A good corrective. The job of a campaign strategist can't be an easy one. There are so many ways to read the tea leaves.