Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Natives Are Getting Restless, or Is It Just the Media?

It is the mission of the Fifth Estate to fill the doldrums between presidential elections with wild speculation. So the JDD is stirring up the pot. What if Emmanuel Macron quit the government and ran for president? Nothing simpler than to commission a poll, and, lo and behold, when you ask disgruntled voters if they'd go for a new face to replace the les vieux et usés, they say, "Why not?" So 53% say they'd like to see him as president. More than Valls, who gets only 48%, but less than Juppé (57%). Hollande and Sarkozy of course come in last (leaving aside poor Cécile Duflot). Ho hum.

Meanwhile, Valls made a controversial appearance on On n'est pas couché, the infotainment vehicle that allows pols to show what regular people they are by fielding nasty questions with more or less grace (your regular person quotient can go up either way--regular people get angry when attacked, but you get elegance points for keeping cool under fire).

And so le bal continue. Nobody can quite imagine another Hollande-Sarkozy face-off, but nobody can quite see how to get from where we are to somewhere else either, unless, of course, we can arrange some kind of "primary" election that will more accurately reflect what the pollsters would like us to believe "the people" actually want, which means wresting control of the primaries away from the party apparatuses and turning them into a kind of pre-general general election. A plebiscite, in other words, and France loves plebiscites, which flatter its monarchical yearnings by creating the illusion of an acclamation of the monarch by the general will. Huzzah! If only France had places like Iowa and New Hampshire, it could imagine a purer way of choosing its next republican monarch.