Monday, January 30, 2017

Interpreting Hamon's Win

In The American Prospect. A little teaser: "It is nearly 50 years since I first set foot in France, and I have been returning to the country regularly ever since. The sights and sounds of Paris still exhilarate me: the purposeful clackety-clack of the low-heeled boots of long-legged women hastening toward the “mouth” of the Metro; the clatter of china and hiss of the espresso machine mingled with the laughter and chatter of a busy café; the fragrance of a truffade simmering in a parabola of cantal and crème fraîche on the rue Mouffetard; the joy of small children, cartables strapped to their backs, running down a cobblestone street as fast as their little legs will carry them to rejoin their classmates in the school courtyard before the raucous bell signals the start of the day. Just down the same street is a plaque indicating the place where Hemingway partook of the movable feast, a short walk from where, centuries earlier, Descartes pondered the cogito and around the corner from where Valéry Larbaud hosted James Joyce as he put the finishing touches on Ulysses."


bernard said...

Sounds like you're actually talking about my old primary school. It would be a first mention either nationally or internationally.

Art Goldhammer said...

Rue Rollin?

bernard said...

indeed. early sixties.

Art Goldhammer said...

I omitted mention of the plaque commemorating the deportation of Jewish children from that school. When in Paris I often stay at the apartment of a colleague at 7, rue Rollin. Wonderful neighborhood.

bernard said...

congrats: you got me with fissiparousness and it's been a very long while since I had to look up a word.

Macron will be releasing his program this week, apparently. So now that we have all the candidates and their programs, serious stuff can begin, provided Fillon doesn't spend too much time every week being interviewed by the financial investigation police (the Canard Enchainé as you know is a weekly publication and they always milk a subject for all it's worth).

Me, I'm starting to bet on Macron, he's got a huge amount of political space, and is very young. When you are that young, including in politics, you'd have to be really rotten from day one to carry excess baggage like Fillon does, so he most likely does not. The race is for him not to blow. And he apparently does even better against Le Pen than Fillon does in a second round, so that's going to be an argument in his favor for many democratic minded people.

Hamon will most likely crush Melenchon in the first round and send him into single digits. This because Melenchon, while extremely articulate, is always a victim of his poor temper and thus becomes insufferable to most people I know, eventually.

I don't really see Valls joining up Macron, the personal loathing and hatred is too recent, but I do see quite a number of people, let's say in the Hollande-Valls constellation of the party joining.

bernard said...

I believe every public school in France where children were snatched during the war now has a plaque. I forget now which President, Chirac, Sarkozy or Hollande ordered it so.

c.i.b. said...

Great piece. I am curious who are the economic advisors behind Hamon. He seems pretty technical on econ debates.

benj said...

Rue Rollin indeed. Hence, you have had to contemplate the catastrophe that occured there four or five years ago, when the Descarte changed hands to become this generic, soulless place.
On a side note to this side note: having lived in the same building as Benoît Hamon, having shared multiple apéros with him in a neighboring café not unlike the Descartes (le Daudet, in the XIVe), I can vouch for his character. He is a really nice guy, open-minded and genuinely willing to make life better for his consituents. I won't vote for him, though, I think. First reason is le vote utile, but that can obviously change, second reason is his stance on Europe as you mentionned, third is more convoluted: his program and attitude I perceive as pretty much adequate for a peace-time president, in a world of limited conflicts and with economic growth (that's the way you ought to read his "no growth" stance in my opinion: "let's not be preoccupied with growth" rather than "let's take resolute actions to prevent it"). Sadly, those are not our times.
On the other hand, we have this "new" guy (successfully branded as new rather than genuinely new, but that doesn't matter in the hand) who is very much on the brink of depossessing the FN from one of its most useful tools, the "hors sytème, "hors parti" line. In other words, a Trump-like phenomenon who would be pro-Europe, pro-immigration and pro-mondilaisation instead of, well, all the things Trump is. And if we have to have a candidate, and maybe a president, like Trump, might as well be him (rather than Marine Le Pen, at least).

benj said...

Another obvious reason I weirdly ommitted, since it has to be one of the proeminent ones to explain the disaffection among voters at large as well as the seductive powers of the FN and Macron alike in this election cycle: the PS, that supports Hamon like the rope the hanged man. He may well be a frondeur but Hamon can't distantiate himself from the PS and everything that goes with it. The best he could do is distantiate himself from Hollande (and indeed it is already done).
He's been preemptivly beaten by Macron here, who managed to ditch not only the President but also his party, the real sine qua non condition to acquire the new kid on the block aura.

(Also, apologize for the "in the hand" in my previous post; one more proof that french people can't pronounce an "h" for the life of us.)