Sunday, April 9, 2017

Macron et les 100 Jours

One thing that has worried me about the Macron candidacy is that I have little sense of how he will govern once elected. Until now he has occupied only subaltern positions in government. What would he do as chief executive.

Two weeks ago, a visitor to Harvard who claimed to know him well said he would press immediately for labor-market reform and school reform. Now, it seemed to me that these are two hot-button issues, likely to bring masses of people into the streets, as indeed labor-market reform did under Hollande. So I asked, Wouldn't this risk a repeat of 1995, when the Chirac-Juppé proposal to reform the pension system, which enjoyed nearly universal elite support, brought masses into the street and paralyzed the country for a month, leading to eventual retreat and dooming the Chirac presidency? The answer was that Macron believed in the "theory of the 100 days," that what doesn't get done in that initial period, when the incoming president's mandate is fresh and strong, doesn't get done at all.

But in today's JDD, Macron says the opposite. Not only does he not believe in the "100-day theory," he explicitly says that the theory led to the failure of previous presidencies. Of course, he (and I) may be wrong, or it may be that circumstances are different now and that a quick strike would succeed while a more gradualist approach will fail. But I was reassured that, whatever the truth of the matter, Macron had pondered the problem and will proceed deliberately rather than impulsively.

Marine and Marion Patch Things Up

When the party is a family business, family squabbles become political. But Marine and Marion have patched things up--or now. Still, this potential cleavage within the FN is one to watch, because the Marion faction--traditionalist, Catho, gay-unfriendly--is more compatible with the Fillon faction of LR than the more "modernist" Marine-Florian Philippot faction. The future recomposition of the right, if there is one, will depend on how this shakes out.