Monday, February 27, 2017

Has Macron Stopped the Bleeding?

A new poll (h/t Hugo Drochon) shows Macron closing in on Le Pen in round 1 and well ahead of Fillon. This no doubt reflects a strong urge to voter utile on the part of those disappointed by the disunion of the left (see previous post) and motivated primarily by a wish to stop both Fillon and Le Pen. Macron has counted on this dynamic all along. The one thing he could not have foreseen was Juppé's defeat by Fillon, which only reinforces the push toward the center. But the disarray on the left was foreseeable no matter which candidate emerged. Hollande would have been even more divisive and less attractive than Hamon. Valls was dismissed by many as "the Sarkozy of the left." And Montebourg could never have obtained Mélenchon's support.

Two years ago, who would have proposed Macron as the favorite to be the next president of France? No one except Macron himself.

La Désunion de la Gauche

As predicted, Jean-Luc Mélenchon has rejected further "negotiations" with Benoît Hamon, so what's left of the left will go into the general election divided. Instead of a Socialist Party and a nebulous formation to its left, we now have two versions of the suddenly popular "eco-socialist" strain of gauchisme, to one version of which the disintegrating Green party has now lent its feeble support.

One version of eco-socialism, Hamon's, envisions the end of work and the robotization of everything in a positive light, as a step toward the end of productivism and humble acceptance of whatever it takes to live in harmony with nature. The European Union will be persuaded to go along with this lenifying vision of a brighter tomorrow by the addition of an Upper Chamber, and everyone will dine out à la bonne franquette on their Universal Basic Income.

The other, Mélenchon's, will do away with the European Union, abolish unemployment within the well-protected borders of the Hexagon, and compensate for any loss of competitiveness with imports of cheap oil and gas supplied on friendly terms by the comrades in Venezuela and Russia.

On L'Emission politique the other night Mélenchon fiercely defended his saber-toothed version of eco-socialism against poor François Lenglet, who tried to illustrate the flaws of open-economy Keynesianism with a pair of Adidas sneakers. "They're a product of exploitation," Mélenchon snarled, skirting the point in his characteristic "the best defense is a barking offense" manner.

And so the contest for the number two slot and the right to contest the presidency with Mme Le Pen will pass by default to MM Macron and Fillon, the latter hauling after him a heavy cargo of casseroles from Penelopegate and the former frantically treading the water he formerly walked on before stumbling over a crime against humanity.

If the gods are smiling on France, one of the latter two will be its next president; otherwise, Trump's friend Jim may soon be returning to a Paris restored to the glory it enjoyed between June 1940 and June 1944.