Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hollande Loses Silicon Valley

Arun Kapil reports some fascinating data:

In the US, Nicolas Sarkozy pummeled François Hollande 61% to 39%. Sarkozy cleaned up in eight of the ten polling stations in New York City, winning upwards of 74% of the vote. But in two—no doubt on the Upper West Side and the Village—Hollande whipped Sarko 57-43. They were pretty evenly divided in San Francisco, though Hollande won Berkeley (duh) in a 57-43 landslide. But Sarko won an even bigger landslide in Palo Alto’s two polling stations (60 and 64%). Hollande’s 75% top tax rate proposal was clearly not plébiscité in Silicon Valley. Hollande’s worst US scores were in West Palm Beach FL (16%; hmmm, I wonder why?…), Las Vegas (17%), Miami 2 (18%), and Tampa (19%). In the last one, pour l’info, Marine Le Pen came in second place ahead of Hollande in round one. Must have been those military folks stationed at CENTCOM.

The End of the Euro?

Well, the beginning of the end, anyway. Or the first step toward the exit of Greece from EMU. I think that Sunday's election made it clear that Greece will not tolerate the degree of "adjustment" necessary to remain on German terms. The best that can be hoped for is that the Greek debacle will alert Germans to the fact that the whole eurozone is likely to explode if there is not an imminent change in direction. Hollande's election is an opportunity that Germany should seize rather than a threat it should seek to quell. But so many opportunities have been missed that it's hard to be optimistic about this one.

Ayrault May Be Out of the Running

Jean-Marc Ayrault, whom many people, including me, expected to be named Prime Minister, was sentenced in 1997 (corrected from an earlier misstatement) to six months in jail (suspended) and a 30,000 euro fine for making a sweetheart deal with a local publisher in Nantes, of which he is mayor. Since Hollande has called for "an exemplary Republic," it seems unlikely that his first move would be to appoint a convicted grafter. Sic transit gloria mundi.

So who's going to get the nod? Lots of personal friction with Aubry. I think I'll put my money on Valls. This would be the cautious move. He's from the right wing of the party, to the right of Hollande, which might reassure the markets. He's smooth. He's calm, like Hollande. And he wants the job.