Friday, July 25, 2008


So, while washing my underwear this morning at the Lav' Club on the avenue Claude Bernard (vacationing has its obligations, too, just as normal life does), I read the following in Libé:

«Barack Obama suscite énormément d’attentes sur le plan international et aux
Etats-Unis. Est-ce que cette attente est fondée ? Est-ce qu’il y répondra ? Nous
verrons bien», nuance Pierre Lellouche, député (UMP) de Paris. Pour ce bon
connaisseur des Etats-Unis, le Parti démocrate «n’a rien à voir avec une annexe
du Parti socialiste comme certains, à gauche, l’imaginent. C’est un parti
protectionniste et qui n’a pas cherché à éviter les guerres. Kennedy a précipité
son pays dans la guerre du Vietnam».

Ah, yes, Pierre Lellouche, the same bon connaisseur who said, in the wake of l'ouverture sarkozyenne of last summer, that the UMP needed to distribute vaseline to those ambitious men such as himself who had taken it up the wazoo (such delicacy of expression!), here contributes to the already abundantly furnished sottisier français concerning the United States. The Democrats a protectionist party? Mais voyons: Obama would of course like to win the votes of displaced workers in Ohio, but he also values the contributions of internationalist investment bankers, and he got himself in trouble during the primaries when his economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee, let slip to a Canadian diplomat that it would be an error to pay too much attention to protectionist talk on the campaign trail. And wasn't it George Bush who raised tariffs on steel and furniture when there were votes to be had in Pennsylvania and North Carolina? Really, M. Lellouche, bon connaisseur que vous êtes, soyons sérieux. As for the Democrats as le parti va-t-en-guerre, well, I declare, I would have thought that such clichés might be set aside on the very day that Obamania comes to Paris, and after eight years of Republican shock and awe.

Of course, M. Lellouche is right about one thing: the Democratic Party is indeed not an "annexe" of the Socialist Party. The Democrats have had their years in the wilderness, but they have never descended into chaos and bedlam quite as irreparable as the inimitable PS, which is thankfully sui generis.

Last night, at La Comédie italienne in Montparnasse, I saw the delightful farce Les Sortilèges de l'amour. M. Lellouche seems to be operating under a similar sort of magic spell, born no doubt of his besotted amour for the American neoconservatives, whose day, we may hope, has passed. May he quickly recover from his infatuation.