Tuesday, February 28, 2017

To the Lifeboats!

When the ship sinks, the women and children are supposed to be the first to abandon ship, the officers and crew last. As the Socialist Party sinks, however, the president was among the first to desert: He ostentatiously went to the theater on the night of the great Belle Alliance primary debate and then he embraced the "outsider" candidate Macron at the CRIF dinner, as I noted previously. Now Jean-Marie Le Guen is saying openly that Hamon can't win, so there's no reason to back his candidacy.

It's not difficult to imagine a complete decomposition of the PS after the first round if Macron wins. There will be a mad scramble to jump on his bandwagon and jockey for position ahead of the legislatives, in which it will be in the interest of most Socialist élus to back President Macron. There will be a few exclus, of course, but non-frondeurs will be welcomed with open arms.

Meanwhile, on the left, rumblings of discontent have been heard. Montebourgians are saying that Hamon's people haven't returned their calls. Hamon has been too focused, they say, on courting Mélenchon, who has no use for Montebourg. Now that that courtship is over, perhaps Montebourg's people will be welcomed: Come back, all is forgotten. Except now the candidate is damaged goods.

Meanwhile, the Mélenchoniste hard-core is blaming Hamon for the break-up. Victory could have been his, they say, all he had to do was surrender. A commenter suggested this morning that perhaps Mélenchon should be credited with being a brilliant strategist: recognizing that an alliance with Hamon might have led to a Hamon-Le Pen second round in which Le Pen would have had the advantage, Mélenchon brilliantly averted disaster by irrevocably dividing the left. An analysis that suggests "Pyrrhic victory" should be renamed "Mélenchonian victory."

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