Sunday, September 17, 2017

Defeat Is an Orphan

Victory has a thousand fathers, they say, while defeat is an orphan. Perhaps, but defeat has a way of generating countless attributions of paternity. One sees this phenomenon at work right now on the far right and the far left.

On the far right, Louis Aliot has launched an all-out attack on Florian Philippot. With Marine Le Pen herself under attack within the party, she seems to have chosen her partner as designated hitter to fasten the blame for the debacle on her erstwhile BFF Philippot, who may be making his own bid for leadership.

Meanwhile, on the far left, PCF leader Pierre Laurent chose the occasion of La Fête de l'Humanité to tear into Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Mélenchon's crime is to have chosen to jouer perso, as they say, but in the case of Mélenchon egoism is such a central part of his character that it can hardly be seen as a defect thereof. If he weren't an egotist, he wouldn't exist. Laurent appears to resent Mélenchon's effort to put himself forward as the first and best enemy of Macron. Not so fast, says Laurent. Me too. And for good measure Benoît Hamon adds that wherever anyone turns out to oppose les ordonnances, there he will be too. But an opera with three such prima donnas is bound to end in fiasco, or the be upstaged by Martinez, who not only sports a villainous mustache but also has troops he can turn out on command.

Meanwhile, the Macron machine lumbers on, no longer quite the juggernaut it once appeared. But despite the bumps in the road, and the wagoneer's penchant for getting people's backs up with unnecessary insults, he retains the support of his base. I was in France this past week, for once among small businessmen rather than academics, and support for Macron in that quarter was unsurprisingly fairly solid. The carping left and right scarcely registers in these quarters. Fluctuat nec mergitur. The dogs bark, the caravans pass.


Geoffy4T said...

Once again, no respect for Melenchon, which I've repeatedly said is a mistake. There is something to be said for plodding. Young people today in America think of Reagan as this old guy who always won. In fact, he lost in 1968 and again in 1976. By '80, it seemed Fate had passed him by. But he turned that idea on its head by his determination and, with the country in turmoil, offered an argument that "He's been trying for so long, he at least deserves a chance." Like Carter, Macron has presented a vision of Competence; if he can't deliver that, people will tire of him very quickly, just like Jimmy. And then..."Why not Melenchon?" [Can you really imagine anyone saying that about Hamon?]

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Martinez may indeed cause JLM some trouble, but Benoît Hamon doesn't amount to much anymore (although it seems that he still gets under Jean-Luc's skin.) It is unsurprising Macron's base of small businessmen still support him, certainly. In their way they are correct to ignore the recomposition underway on the right and the left. For the next few years the opposition will mostly be talking to itself, while Macron will be running the country. The only thing that could disrupt this in the medium term would be if one of Macron's reforms was defeated by street protests, or if Philippe and the constructives stopped supporting the country.

Neither is likely, so Macron sets the agenda. The question of who will lead the opposition to Macron at the next election will be determined above all by how Macron governs for the next three or four years.

Anonymous said...

*supporting the majority government, of course.