Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Hamon has announced that he has "gone into opposition," but his party is crumbling around him. Valls tried to bolt to REM (I love that Macron's new party, République en Marche, has the initials of a rap group or a state of somnolence) and was rebuffed. Mélenchon discovered that the Insoumis included the Communists, who both remain insoumis (to him) and know a thing or two about cults of personality. They will pursue their own independent, unbowed course to oblivion. The Juppéistes are on the verge of going their own way. MoDem is hoping for a prime minister named Sylvie Goulard. Baroin and Wauquiez are busily stabbing each other in the back and casting about for henchmen. And Marion has left Tante Marine in the lurch, while auntie tries to figure out whether Philippot, who has become the face of the FN on TV and the voice on radio, is more of a liability than an asset. And speaking of radio, Patrick Cohen is leaving France Inter for Europe1.

In short, the French political landscape is already looking like the aftermath of a tornado, and REM won't even announce its slate of candidates until tomorrow. It's going to be a fascinating first 100 days. Everything is in flux, and the currents are impossible to read.

Meanwhile, here at home, in contrast to France, the orange-maned narcissist-in-chief is on the march. Normally I refrain from using the f-word, but when your clueless president fires the person who is investigating him for suspected collusion with a foreign power, "fascism" seems somewhat less hyperbolic. France has for now kept its republic, while the US is once again contemplating Benjamin Franklin's answer to a citizen who asked what kind of government the constitutional convention had given the country: "A Republic, sir, if you can keep it."


Anonymous said...

uh, rem is very far from a rap group.

Art Goldhammer said...

So I've been told by several people already. Whatever. I'm old. My children are grown. I've lost touch.

Alexandra Marshall said...

Oh Art. It's OK. Everybody Hurts.

Meanwhile, what on earth do we think is happening with Evita, Junior, MMLP? A paranoid French friend in America with Fillonish leanings told me she heard terrifying rumors about the FN and wouldn't say more in writing. I do not pass this on to sew terror, but I'm curious what you all think might be the ulterior motives of bailing on politics for the moment.

Though I try not to ever feed the trolls, I've realized that FN gossip is my greatest horrorshow entertainment going after Trump/Russia.

bert said...

How about going all in with the campaign song? Shiny Happy People Having Fun.

Bernard said...

The sadest French news here is Patrick Cohen going to europe 1, which has lots of advertisement, which I simply can't take with my morning coffee!

As for US news, I have news for Americans: when you elect a fascist, a fascist is what you get. No surprise here. Benjamin Franklin did warn you in advance.

Don and Cathy Jo said...



And Art, I'm sorry but I'm 64 yo and I know who REM is. In the 90's we sat at the Santa Barbara County Bowl looking up Michaels Stipe's nose! One of the greatest concerts evah!


Viktor said...

Fun, thank you!

Anonymous said...

This whole business recalls "Game of Thrones" - all of the camps are splitting in two, everyone is betraying everyone else to join or oppose the new king. (Except the Communists- I fear that it is giving them too much credit to say that they are opposing JLM's cult of personality. They want their pocket money and their small-ball patronage.) I don't think that anybody comes out of all this maneuvering looking very good, boy-king Macron included. What does he think that he is doing treading on Valls' and Le Maire's knuckles? Does he think that he can construct a majority without strong personalities, or at least one that is composed only of people who owe everything to him? De Gaulle is the only one who was able, for a limited time, to pull off something like that, and if Macron thinks that he can do the same he is in for a rude shock.

Valls *is* Macron, only older and a bit more sécuritaire. The two of them stand for exactly the same economic line. Valls is damaged goods not because of his tough guy act, but because he was tarnished by the effort to push through Macron's reforms. Now everyone experiences schadenfreude at Valls' torment: people on the left because they don't like the (popular) tough guy act, people on the right because Valls came from the PS and was Hollande's PM.

Macron, Houdini-like, has avoided responsibility for the unpopularity of his own economic policy, as implemented by Hollande and Valls. It is Macron's job to make the same line popular this time around. For the moment, because the moderate halves of both the PS and LR are competing for his favor, Macron seems all powerful. Real opposition will emerge soon enough, and when it does Macron may regret having publicly humiliated the influential politicians who are closest to his own way of thinking.

Anonymous said...

Accepting Valls would mean making all the rumors true, that he's just Hollande Bis and/or a recycling system for old PS officials.
It'd be exposing his promise of renewal as a lie, and so soon after his election I can't see it. I'd be really disappointed if he took valls, pundits ' hand wringing be d*ed.
Some other officials were already discussed and accepted, and there's a sense they are the acceptable limit, but taking on valls ('the real traitor', who humiliated him in the assembly) and is disliked on the left while not bringing in anything on the right? Why?
I think that Valls would damage Rem in the elections and that Macron believes he doesn't need him.

Robinson said...

I admit that I do think that Macron is Hollande bis, although he may have a better chance of succeeding than Hollande did. Macron represents renewal in one sense only, although it is an important sense: he has overcome the party structure of the Fifth Republic and has enormous space to build whatever alliances he chooses to build. Otherwise, the promised renewal is perfectly empty, at best a marketing ploy. Macron's ideas are not new at all: all of the grand old men supported him, or half-supported him. I don't particularly want REM to be a recycling system for old PS officials, but for the moment it seems that the plan is to promote mid-level Juppé supporters.

I'm sure that out of resentment Macron believes his "real traitor" nonsense, but of course i) Valls was loyal to Hollande for longer than Macron was, and ii) loyalty to Hollande isn't such a virtue, is it? Anyway, Valls right now is small potatoes, although I'm sure he'll be back. I am more worried that Macron will try to govern with vaguely right-wing nonentities. I fear Macron will think that his margin of victory means that his economic program is popular: it is not.

Anonymous said...


Perfectly empty renewal? As opposed to the perfectly unrealistic and empty promises of a Mélenchon who thinks that exiting from the euro, rewriting the constitution and increasing the number of functionnaires is the solution?

Macron's economic program is exactly what France needs: de-regulation of the labor market (reform of the rigid code du travail), reduction of the national debt, and encouragement of investment in small and medium job-creating enterprises. If that is not "popular", à qui la faute? It is the fault of vaguely right-wing and left-wing "nonentities" who seem not to be bothered by 10% unemployment and several million French citizens who must live abroad to earn their living.

Anonymous said...

Idrac for PM?

Anonymous said...

Not sure if it's the right place, but...
Candidates' choice for REM

214 women/214 men

19.000 candidates, 71% men, 29% women

52% "from civil society" (ie., not previously elected nationally)

2% currently looking for jobs

4% retired

1% college/grad students

95% aren't incumbants

average age 46 (vs. 60 for current MPs)

ages range from 24 to 72

24 incumbents, all PS, and "there remain spaces for bipartisan support open to LR"

Manuel Valls: will not be chosen by EM because he doesn't meet the criteria but in order to avoid looking vindictive they won't present anyone against him


Robinson said...

@Anonymous: I am not saying that Macron's ideas are bad. Simply that they are not new: they are a perfect distillation of the main-stream of French economic thinking that has developed over the past 20 years or more. The many, many previous efforts to implement the sort of labour-market reforms Macron has promised have all failed or been diluted because of popular resistance. Will Macron succeed where Valls, Juppé etc. all failed? This seems unlikely to me, particularly if help from Germany is not forthcoming. Maybe he will prove more creative than I give him credit for being. Anyhow, I wish him good luck, and am amused to note that he has taken my advice about Valls, after a period of ritual humiliation.

Massilian said...

YO ! Corinne VERSINI a local start up entrepreneur and local En Marche representative will be the REM candidate in my circonscription ( 4e circonscrption) she will have to win over Melenchon and Menucci (the present deputé), don't know the F.N. guy yet, but if Ravier wants to move to this sector,that's a bold move, it is not at all an F.N. compatible district. L.R. candidate unknown and sure not a favorite.
I love the idea of "corrida" between the (retired) local superstar torera de rejon MARIE SARA for REM facing F.N. Gilbert Collard in the Gard !
There will be blood.

Anonymous said...

Wow Marie Sara vs. Collard = AWESOME !!!
In my district, the pick is a dud. Seriously if they really met with her and approved of her there's something wrong with their recruiting team or process. She's like a RWOA reincarnated.

Alexandra Marshall said...

Local sports star pitted against old guard fascist whose defeat will foster outsized media speculation about the health of the FN. Not at all dumb. I don't wish for American style campaigning in any way, but our people could have done wonders with those visuals.