Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Macron Makes His Move

This was telegraphed so far back that it was about as much of a surprise as this morning's sunrise, but now it's official: Emmanuel Macron has launched a "movement." It's called "En Marche!" (a little muscular for a technocrat) and is described as "neither right nor left," which in the old days we used to say meant "definitely on the right." But we're through the looking glass now, people, so maybe right is left and up is down.

We know that Macron is popular, but we don't know if his popularity means anything more than "at least he's not one of the same old faces." He says he isn't after the 2017 nomination, but there's little doubt that he'll take a shot at it if conditions are right. If not, he's got a long future ahead of him. He doesn't really have a style yet, because thus far he's had to confine himself to pot shots and petites phrases.

I imagine there are some raised eyebrows at Matignon and the Elysée. Valls is probably livid. The one question in my mind is whether this move means that Hollande has let it be known privately that he's not going to run. If he hasn't done that, then this declaration of independence by a young upstart might be seen as intolerable impudence. Mitterrand, one can be sure, would have cut off his head as surely as Caligula removed the heads of statues to replace them with his own. Valls would probably like to cut off another part of his rival's anatomy, but this is hardly the moment to start bloodletting in the Council of Ministers, with students in the streets and the Loi El Khomri still pending. But it should be an interesting summer and fall.