Friday, May 20, 2016

President Normal Becomes President Beauf

I did a double take when I read the headline in Le Monde: "Hollande mise sur l’Euro pour rebondir." What? I said to myself. Doesn't he know that the euro is in crisis. Then it dawned on me that the reference was to the European football championship. Apparently, Hollande feels that if he "invests himself," as the paper puts it, in this mega-event, his fortune will take a turn for the better. Here is yet another gauge of the pathetic fin de règne at which le président normal has arrived. De normal il est devenu beauf. The picture of him dribbling in coat and tie says it all. Quel gâchis--as several of his former ministers now candidly admit.


bert said...

France actually have a pretty good chance at this.
In recent tournaments they have shat the bed, to widespread amusement.
This time around potential sources of division off the pitch (Benzema) have been kept out of the squad, while potential sources of embarassment on the pitch (Giroud) appear to be coming good at just the right time.
Add in home advantage and they're many people's favourites.
Whether a good result will give Hollande a bounce is another question, however.

Given that the Bataclan atrocities started with an attempted bombing at a France-Germany match, with a watching Hollande in attendance, I think he'd do better to place himself at the head of the security operation, taking care not to be too craven in pursuit of photo opportunities.

In the end though, the underlying premise of the linked article seems out of date. The headline talks as though "rebondir" is a possibility. My sense is that sometime earlier this year you decided, finally and regretfully, that it's not.

Mitch Guthman said...
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Mitch Guthman said...

I am really at a total loss as regards Hollande’s latest desperate ploy to miraculously find his way into the second round. Perhaps he has been living in his own Wonderland for so long that something like this probably seems as normal as a tea party with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse. Hollande really has become a pathetic figure; no longer simply content to be M. Flanby he has actually managed to become a caricature of himself.

And yet, he somehow manages to keep his grip on the reins of power at what was (until his presidency) the most important (or second most important) political party and undoubtedly the party with the best party apparatus in France. I don’t understand how Hollande is able to cling to power but he simply cannot be dislodged. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like any in the PS has ever really tried.

The story in Sarkozy’s “LR” is much the same. He is nearly as unpopular among “LR” voters as Hollande is with the PS but it is proving nearly as impossible to pry control of the party apparatus (which control I assume he will manipulate so as to guarantee himself the nomination). The consequence seems to be a form of entropy in which all of the parties outside of the extreme right share an unwavering commitment to the same insanely draconian economic policies that are killing Europe and making adaptation impossible. Tragically, only the extreme right has escaped the entropy with it’s hostility to the EU’s insane economic policies and its commitment to preserving the social welfare state.

Just as an aside: I think Bert’s analysis of Valls’s exclusion of Benzema (which, admittedly, seems to have enjoyed widespread public approval) is quite wrong but demonstrates the wobbly inconsistencies that have characterized both Hollande and Valls. If I were staking my political life on France winning the Euro 2016, I would want Benzema in the lineup regardless of any off-the-field controversies. Gignac recently gave an interview admitting that the absence of Karim Benzema, Mathieu Valbuena and Mamadou Sakho will put France in a difficult situation.

bert said...

France's weakness has been a vile atmosphere inside the squad.
Nasri, Anelka vs Domenech, etc, etc ...
Look at the details of the Benzema case and tell me he wouldn't stink the place out.

He's finished the season strongly for Real, which I guess is Gignac's point, and yours.

Alexandra Marshall said...

Mitch I think the frondeurs are as far as the PS has gone to try to undermine Hollande. Other than push desperately for a primary, what else can they do? He's not the PM, he's the president. Speaking of pushing desperately for a primary, where is that going? I feel like that's all but dropped off as a subject of speculation. So maybe you're right, Mitch, and the will isn't there--which is kind of unthinkable. Where are the moustache-twirling up and comers with sharp knives? Everyone has to know that the Hollande presidency has already almost put the death knell to the PS. One more and it'll be done for good.

I won't be sorry, it feels like every other sclerotic party fat on its own power and in its current form inspires nothing in me but the rolling of my eyes. French politics (the institution, not this blog) needs a firm boot up the ass from someone other than the extreme right.

Alexandra Marshall said...

Ah look, the primary idea lives on... lamely.

Mitch Guthman said...


It's disheartening that, if there's any validity to the article, the worlds of football and French politics are intertwining in a manner more typical of an impoverished third world dictatorship seeking to distract the minds of the people from the failings of the regime with bread and circuses.

Nevertheless, if my presidency’s last best hope for a "rebondir" was riding on France winning the Euro 2016, I would be mainly concerned with selecting players capable of delivering victory. You can't win if you don't put the ball in the net. Warts and all, Benzema is still the best striker that France is capable of fielding. If Paris was worth a mass to Henry IV, surely Hollande ought to be willing to see his way clear to holding his nose and employing a disreputable but supremely talented football player who, after all, remains innocent until proven guilty.

Mitch Guthman said...


I am generally in agreement with your response. But I would note that at La Rochelle and at every opportunity since then, the frondeurs have pretty consistently denied being frondeurs. It seems very strange to me because the power of the PS is what I think of as the local “baronies” and those people have simply been devastated; one would think that the instinct for self-preservation would have caused these local powers to move heaven and earth to rid the party of Hollande.

It also seems to me that the two “no confidence” motions were opportunities to depose Hollande by bringing down his government but, for reasons I don’t understand, nothing materialized. Both motions turned into Kabuki make-believe which only made the party look even more feckless.

Looking back at how most of lefties everywhere felt when Hollande won the presidency, it’s just been a downhill spiral from Valerie Trierweiler’s famous tweet. I think Art wrote the perfect epitaph of Hollande’s presidency: “Quel gâchis"

FrédéricLN said...

PS MPs really won't know where to go. They should be either scared by the ruler, and loyal servants of His/Her Majesty — but they are not afraid any more; or hopeful that success is round the corner, that some deep pink wave will lift them to the top — but none of them feels any kind of pink wavelet. Some of them will bet that local recognition in their hometown will save them from wreckage. Maybe PS can save 60 or 80 seats this way. But PS might deeply regret not to have legalized proportional representations, as announced.