Skip to main content

Meanwhile the French Right (or rather its main party - Chirac'€™s then Sarkozy's UMP) is choosing its new chief.
While this has no bearing on who would be the candidate against Hollande in 2017 (since there will be a specific primary to pick the candidate in 2016 and four years is a long time), the two main candidates are the two most obvious possibilities for 2017 (assuming that Sarkozy does not try to come back later on which he is rumored to think about).

One candidate is François Fillon, Sarkozy'€™s Prime Minister for his whole term (which in itself is an unusual level of durability for a French PM) and who stayed popular €- more popular than Sarkozy€“ - all throughout. His essence is the typical French "provincial bourgeois". Very classical French Right. Moderate in tone -€“ if not always in action. Has a clear "€œsocial streak"€. Exhibits distaste of the Far Right-€“ even if he has to bear the cross of having been a participant of Sarkozy'€™s policies. He is known to be personally very cold and not very charismatic. He does not like people very much which shows and he is not very good on the stump. His popularity was mainly his function of his seriousness which was a nice contrast with Sarkozy'€™s crazy dog persona. But that general sense of moderation, it should be noted, masks some seriously rightist views on the budget and the State. He was the main driver of the reform of the pension system under Chirac and then the follow-up under Sarkozy (which were radical by French standards) and he was known to be a deficit hawk (while Sarkozy was very Bush-like in his approach to the budget if you know what I mean). He is also very widely disliked by many in his party. Very much a loner, he has backstabbed many and plays his ambition through scheming rather than openly like Sarkozy or Copé. He is not known to take risks if he doesn'€™t have to (which got him insulted as a "€œHollande of the Right"€) and to be disloyal (an early skirmish of the campaign involved two proxy candidates to head the UMP caucus in Parliament and when it looked Copé'€™s friends had it locked up, Fillon abandoned his own proxy candidate without blinking an eye).


Jean-François Copé on the other hand has had rough relations with Sarkozy but mostly because they are almost the same person. Same ultra-active spotlight-chasing persona. Same self-admitted conspicuous ambition. Same "€œdescendant from Eastern Europe immigrants" story. And same positioning at the Far Right of the Mainstream Right. He is very much a liberal (in the French meaning) on economic issues and has no qualms "€œgoing there"€ on immigration and racial issues. One advantage  he has is that he got from Sarkozy the post of Secretary General of UMP during the second half of the term (Sarkozy was still the real boss) so he got to know the party machine very well and is well loved by party members as he has been indefatigably going to functions all around the country to get to know them.


The campaign has gone as follows. From the get-go the assumption has been that Fillon would win. Most polls throughout showed him shellacking Copé at around 70-30 with little movement - with the important caveat pollsters were polling UMP voters rather than the narrower universe of party-members that are the ones actually casting the vote.

Fillon'€™s strategy has been simple: 1) running the clock€“ which fits his personality to a T since he does not like campaigning and is by nature someone who prefers to stay on his own achieving his goals from his desk€“ and 2) presenting himself as a more believable candidate for 2017€“ which by all account he is, since his five years as PM have given him a pretty solid image as a statesman in the electorate. He has also ended up getting endorsements from most of the big figures of the party - in a drip-drip-drip that has given him a sense of momentum -€“ who are not fond of him but would rather be in the winning camp. Actually even some allies and friends of Copé ended up switching sides.

Copé'€™s strategy has been three-fold:
-    First he has been pointing out that what is being picked is the chief of the party, not the Presidential candidate. He admits his image isn'€™t quite there as a potential President (although his ambitions are as obvious as Fillon's) but that what is needed is someone that will lead the opposition, rebuild the party, and win the intervening elections first (mayoral, regional, European) before worrying about 2017. He even suggested people who favor Sarkozy€'s return should vote for him since he would move aside for Sarkozy while Fillon would fight him to be the candidate (which is a bit lolzy since Copé has the exact same ambitions).
-    Second it has been to campaign very very actively. By all accounts, he is very good on the stump (the "lingering for hours after a speech to talk to everybody"€ type) and has been doing up to three or four events a day since summer (while Fillon couldn't be bothered to do one every two or three days until October). The idea is to present himself as the candidate of the party members vs Fillon being the candidate of the elites and big bosses of the party.
-    Third - and sadly - it has been to reproduce Sarkozy€'s strategy of moving far to the right on social issues - particularly immigration and race issues. There is a debate in the party whether Sarkozy lost because of his provocation on that stuff or whether that strategy is what made it so close in the end. Clearly, Copé strongly believes in the latter. He has been making controversial proposals to get "€œbuzz"€, has made some very iffy remarks in order to provoke strong reactions from the Left (which he got) like saying "anti-white racism"€ was a major issue or telling transparently dog-whistling anecdotes about â"French children having been stolen their pain au chocolat by thugs who said that people shouldn'€™t eat during Ramadan"€ and has attacked Fillon on the question of the FN vote (Fillon used to have the same stance as the UMP and its predecessors have had for two decades that in districts where the run-off is between FN and PS the vote should go to the party that has democratic values whereas Copé changed the policy to both parties are equally evil and there should be no endorsements when no UMP candidate makes it to the runoff). He has called to demonstrate in the streets to prevent same-sex marriage and so on and so on. His slogan was that he stood for the "Uninhibited Right"€

Well, don'€™t look, but the polls were wrong. At this time, the vote is still 50-50 with a small advantage for Copé which in itself is a huge victory for him. The margin isn'€™t more than a couple of thousand votes each way on a total of 180 000 so whatever happens accusations of fraud that each side has been throwing at each other this week may end up making a huge difference - not to mention a huge PR disaster like what happened to the PS in 2008. But from what I read, the Fillon camp are losing hope and most specific accusations of fraud are being thrown at them.
UPDATE: As I was rereading this before publication, the situation on the vote count is completely overshadowed by very aggressive accusation of fraud on both sides which means we won't have any definitive results for several days by all accounts because Copé's small lead is, well, small.

If it holds that Copé wins though, two immediate lessons: polls still suck, even in France, and it does seem the French Right is moving clearly to the right as time goes. With Copé at the helm and the type of rhetoric he indulges in, there should be less qualms from local candidates (that are in many places already itching to do that after a decade of losing every election) to start allying with the far-right FN in local elections which in turn would slowly pave the way for a change of mind at the national level -€“ even though neither candidate even opens the door to that thought yet.

A side storyline is that a more centrist former member of Sarkozy'€™s majority, Jean-Louis Borloo, has tried to create a new party, UDI, that merges all of France'€™s notoriously fractious Centre-Right and he may get a boost from Copé being the new Chief of the UMP if Copé continues his Rightist borderline offensive strategy.

The lesson about the party moving to the right also holds if Fillon pulls it off in the end. That Copé kept it so close will vindicate the view that the base is much to the right of its elected officials and needs to be taken into account. And on the question of "candidates", certainly Copé will be very much in the game for the next round so expect a low-intensity guerrilla and undermining if Fillon does win.

Whatever happens, a 51-49 result either way is the best result from the point of view of Hollande, who is unpopular and whose majority is also a mess of conflicts but who now faces a UMP President who is not beloved by the party members and who will have to deal with an emboldened internal opposition. Not to mention the upcoming debate about how to deal with the Front National that will probably makes for some tough swing-voters-turn-off moments for the mainstream right.

And Sarkozy also will smile since a divided party is the best scenario for his potential deus ex machina return in 2016.

2:37 PM PT: UPDATE 1: To make this even more of a disaster for the UMP, Copé and Fillon just made televised speeches at the same time both claiming they had won. Confirmed: this is going to be a big mess.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the update (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, yella dawg, marieperoy, rbird

    It's good to hear what is happening in Europe.

    A new birth of freedom..

    by docterry on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 02:25:03 PM PST

  •  England readies for an election too......... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, Gary J, SoCalLiberal

    The man David Cameron has picked to head his Election campaign once launched a foul-mouthed rant against Muslims.

    Outspoken Australian ‘fixer’ Lynton Crosby used the phrase ‘f*** Muslims’ in a diatribe while working for London Mayor Boris Johnson.

    According to a source, Mr Crosby said Mr Johnson should concentrate on traditional Tory voters instead of ‘f*** Muslims’. The source added: ‘He definitely used that phrase’ and said: ‘Lynton’s view was that chasing the Muslim vote and other ethnic groups was a waste of time –  and he frequently expressed himself in very strong terms. Some people found it very offensive.’

    In a statement last night a spokesman for Mr Crosby said he had ‘absolutely no recollection’ of using the term.      

    If Lynton Crosby is known for one thing, it is winning elections for Right-wing political leaders by ruthlessly playing the immigration card.

    Mr Crosby, known as the ‘attack dingo’, has become synonymous with ‘dog whistle politics’ – the repeated use of coded language which plays to the worst fears of certain voters.

    The term entered the political lexicon when Mr Crosby, running the Tories’ 2005 General Election campaign for leader Michael Howard, is responsible for the slogan: ‘Are you thinking what we’re thinking?’

    He deployed messages such as ‘It’s not racist to impose limits on immigration’ and ‘How would you feel if a bloke on early release attacked your daughter?’ on posters and mailshots.

    I hate to do this but the link is at the  Daily mail.......

  •  marieperoy: habitez-vous en france? :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just because you shout doesn't mean I have to listen.

    by kev9100 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 02:34:51 PM PST

  •  I hope Cope wins, this in turn will move them (0+ / 0-)

    further right, out of the mainstream. This will make it hard for the crazies to win elections except for their strongholds. Francois Hollande is lousy and things will not get easy fast enough, he needs a hard right for the socialistes to retain power. How bad is my analysis?

    "Aux ames bien nees, la valeur n'attend point le nombre des annees" Pierre Corneille.

    by Patate on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:32:48 PM PST

    •  It is fair enough (5+ / 0-)

      But you make the mistake pundits are making in France. Yes, Hollande is lousy - I wasn't for him in the primaries and leftist voters were warned that he was like this - but to think that the fact he is unpopular now says anything about whether he will be popular in 2017 is absurd. Chances are the economy will have picked up by then and we know what that does to the chances of an incumbent.
      The second mistake you make is assuming going much to the right necessarily guarantees another victory from the Left. Problem for Sarkozy was that he didn't pick up enough votes from the FN in the runoff to pull it off because so many had been disgusted by his governance. Copé could very well convince them to vote for him in the runoff of a Presidential election by running to the right without Sarkozy's baggage (indeed, that was what Sarkozy successfully did in 2007) and that is enough to win - sadly. Don't be so sure it is an electoral killer. There is a huge section of the electorate that responds to that kind of rhetoric and after five years of Sarkozy, its repulsive effect on more moderate right-leaning voters has dulled - to the point where if they hate Hollande, it wouldn't be a reason to stay home like it has been this year.
      And finally there is the same dilemna that we have here with the Tea Party. Parties win elections in turn. Even if a Copé win assures a Hollande reelection in the short term, do we want to risk that kind of language and policy to become mainstream on the right? Because they will be in power again one day or another. And it is appalling stuff if they do implement it.

      •  The more people are exposed to the rhetoric (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        before hand the more repellent it would be and the less chance off implementation there is. When you do not know where the candidate really stand when they are "moderated", the more dangerous they are when they win elections. i.e G.W Bush, Sarkozy (was given the benefit of doubt). The centrist would be less likely to support a Cope-FN alliance.The Tea party doomed the Republican party effectively this year, since 2010.

        "Aux ames bien nees, la valeur n'attend point le nombre des annees" Pierre Corneille.

        by Patate on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:18:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is not (6+ / 0-)

          That is not what has happened in France at all. That rhetoric has been around for twenty years (Chirac's infamous speech in 1991 where he bemoaned French families having to deal with the "noise and smell" of their immigrant families got him SEVERE blowback) except that now the sensitivity to it has steadily decreased. Things like this are increasingly common on the French Right and the Left is taking to shrugging them off because they can't spend all their time chasing every offensive remark anymore. People who are almost openly xenophobic have been granted jobs as pundits and spouting that stuff everyday without anyone treating it any differently than any other political argument. I am afraid this is the opposite of what you surmise will happen.

          And on the final point the Tea Party may have lost them seats but if a Republican is elected President in 2016, he will be much much much to the right of Bush because the Overton window has moved. That's the concern I am expressing. Some ideas that were absurd five years ago are now mainstream in the GOP. I would be upset to see the same happening to the UMP : and it already has. Both Chirac and Sarkozy decried as shocking and extremist any suggestion that were made by the FN to make French citizenship a blood right instead of granting it automatically to whoever was born here.
          Fillon, the moderate in the race, proposed last month to undo the local version of the 14th amendment and nobody batted an eyebrow. Careful what you wish for. Short-term electoral gains or long-term policy losses?

          •  *of their immigrant neighbours (n/t) (0+ / 0-)
          •  I am not sure we are disagreeing here. Cope to me (0+ / 0-)

            is a brutal truth but the centrists or moderates who would vote for him and a coalition that would implement far right policies cannot claim they did not know what they were bargaining for. A Fillon on the other hand is more subtle, a wolf in sheep's clothing that can con his way into power. A Mitt Romney 2002 is an example, had it not been for a democratic legislature in Massachusetts, his true impact on policy would have been important. People bought his moderate republican appeal, the presidential primaries with openly far right activists revealed him to be malleable and dangerous.

            "Aux ames bien nees, la valeur n'attend point le nombre des annees" Pierre Corneille.

            by Patate on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:39:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fillon is a rightist (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jay C

              And I can see him sometimes indulging the rabidly anti-Muslim anti-immigrant part of the base but he very very clearly would not make it a focus of his campaigns or his governing and would not add that same kind of language which only serves to heighten the already high tensions within French society. He infamously strongly pushed back behind-the-scenes against Sarkozy's xenophobic populist "Grenoble" speech in 2010. His instincts are very much old-French-Right on this whereas Sarkozy and Copé are very uninhibited about those.

          •  May I bother you to ask what the French (0+ / 0-)

            equivalent to the 14th amendment is?

  •  I completely detest the faux persona of Fillion (0+ / 0-)

    He reminds me of Piyush Jindal

  •  Nice diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marieperoy, MichaelNY

    Are you a subscriber to TV5?  That's pretty much how I get French news.  That and the Internet.  

    Today I gorged on a juicy retelling of the Segolène Royal-Valérie Trierweiller soap opera in the new edition of Vanity Fair.  There is nothing like a scandal to take one's mind off the essentials, nest-ce pas?

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:11:29 PM PST

    •  I actually don't have a TV (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jay C, Radiowalla, SoCalLiberal, MichaelNY

      I just read French newspapers as avidly as I read American ones and I of course get the gossip on-the-ground from my mom. I also listen to French radio when I can. Radio is a much much more popular and relevant medium in France than here.

      I'd suggest you check out the BFMTV website if you want more. It streams for free online and it is the highest rated cable news network in France.

      And yeah my mom also loves that triangle. I have to imagine there is something amazing about Hollande that we don't see because I find it hard to believe he is really worth these two gorgeous women going at it for (and acting stupid!). But matters of the heart ...

      •  I get podcasts from RFI and Europe1 (0+ / 0-)

        but don't know BFMTV.  Will check it out.  Thanks.  

        Totally agree about Hollande...what could possibly be his charm?  He seems so bland, so colorless, une veritable tête de croque-mort.  Right now he is being very ill served by La Trierweiller and doesn't seem able to do anything to stop it.

        It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by Radiowalla on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:11:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He does have a nice sense of humor (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Radiowalla, MichaelNY

          I don't like him, either personally or politically but he is good-humored. Guess he must also be awesome in the sack.

          In his defense, he did fall for both women so he must have a taste for strong women in the first place so not sure he is that bothered that Trierweiler is very independent. Royal "stealing" the Presidential nomination from him was not exactly submissive either.

          He does have his ways of tweaking his partner though: in a recent meeting with Royal (she is the head of a region and he was meeting all of them) he commented to some of the people attending that Royal was "looking really beautiful today". So either he is an asshole (who says that of his ex when he knows it will come back to his current Miss?) or he was subtly getting back at her for that infamous Tweet.

          •  I like your approach: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marieperoy, MichaelNY

            "a taste for strong women."  That makes me think upon him in a much kindlier fashion!  


            It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

            by Radiowalla on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:36:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Hollande May be Underestimated (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            He very well may be a Machiavellian savant as many in Paris believe he was behind DSK's meltdown which gave Hollande the opening he needed to be elected. And he may have been behind his girlfriend's tweet to guarantee Royal wasnt to be elected and President of the Assembly.

            If the aforementioned are true; Hollande may very well be underestimated and his perception problems may be due to the financial sector controlled media not liking what Hollande promised during the campaign he would do, raising the taxes on the rich.

            Frankly if he only came through on one promise-the hiring of many more teachers; that would be enough for many to reelect him.

            For the critics to have the knives out for him already after being in office for four months; is foolish as if he isnt machiavellian-then he is the luckiest politician in France and his luck could carry him to reelection.

            •  I don't buy that theory at all (0+ / 0-)

              But as I said, I don't like him. I do believe he is as a mediocre as people now realize he is and I am no rightist.
              We can disagree on our approach to him but one thing I can say for sure is the idea he had anything to do about what happened to DSK is ridiculous.  I can emphatically say it didn't happen, the same way than Obama was not born in Kenya

  •  On religion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jay C, SoCalLiberal, MichaelNY

    An anecdotal (and little talked-about in France) note about Copé: he is Jewish (albeit non-practicing which bothers exactly no one in France) and his second wife Nadia that he married in 2010 is of Egyptian descent.
    I imagine we would hear more about/from her to counter-act his Muslim-baiting image if he was the candidate in 2017.

  •  Correction: the polls don't "suck" (0+ / 0-)

    The polls were about UMP leaning people. The voters were UMP members.
    Pundits confused them.

    •  I did make that clear (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anonyman, MichaelNY

      I do know they were not polling the right universe and I clearly mentioned it in my diary. But nevertheless it is up to the pollsters to poll the right universe. This is the third time they kinda mess up in France in a year, whatever the methodological excuses.
      They missed Aubry being much stronger than they predicted in the first round of the PS primary, they underestimated Le Pen in the first round and Sarkozy in the second in the Presidential election and they polled UMP leaning voters time after time this time around instead of screening properly for people who were UMP members (they were not allowed to have access to the member list but they could have screened the sample anyway)
      I get the criticism of the criticism but it does not justify them not narrowing the sample.

      •  That's not how it works (0+ / 0-)

        Pollsters could not have polled UMP members with accuracy, it's not a matter of "screening".
        They didn't mess up at all here. They gave a very interesting information about how the UMP leaning voters feel. All the pollsters said REPEATEDLY that nobody should confuse this with a prediction about the vote of the UMP members. It's not their fault that most pundits are incompetent.

        The pollsters' methodology is not at fault here, only people not paying enough attention to what the pollsters were saying.

        •  I stand by what I said (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You say they could not have polled UMP members with accuracy (why? There are 300 000 of them ... enough for many samples) so they decided to poll the UMP voters and warn it may not be accurate.
          Not sure I understand the logic here.
          We agree that pundits failed here too but I stand by my criticism of the decision to poll a universe that was not relevant

  •  If you don't campaign (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You're not going to win.  It's really as simple as that.  So I don't know a lot about the innerworkings of the UMP but that's a pretty hard and fast rule in politics.  I think that applies to Francois Fillon as it does to everyone else.  I thought Fillon represented a ritzy, well heeled Parisian District in Parliament.  I didn't know he was provincial.    

    Is Hollande already unpopular?  He only got elected in what, May?  I've heard about some of the things he's done since taking office and I am less than impressed.  75% tax rate on the top income earners?  Lowering the retirement age?  Banning all homework in public schools?  (I know that's only a talked about proposal but still.....).  But if anything, it reminds me that being a Socialist and being a Liberal are two different things.  

    Check out my new blog:

    by SoCalLiberal on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:53:35 PM PST

    •  So many answers (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radiowalla, SoCalLiberal, MichaelNY

      Let me get you through your questions in order

      1) He NOW represents a ritzy well-heeled district in Parliament but for more than twenty years he had been the député for a provincial small-town district in Western France. When he first decided to carpetbag (he announced it last year for this year's election) it was because he was thinking of running for Mayor of Paris and wanted a toehold in Paris. (For the record carpetbagging to become Mayor of Paris after decades as a representative for a rural district is exactly what Chirac did back in the day).
      But Copé has - rightfully - criticized him for this - if only because his new district is a safe rich district whereas without his high profile, his former district was lost to one of Hollande's best friends at the last Parliamentary elections. Anyhow, he is very much a man of that region - which is known for Social-Christian moderate conservatism and is only a recent carpetbagger in that Parisian district.

      2) Hollande is very very unpopular. Worst and fastest falling ratings for a President in fifty years. For many reasons. Some fair. Some less so.
      Among the fair ones, the fact that - as had been predicted by his rivals in the primary - he is not a man that knows how to make decisions. He postpones, contradicts himself, wavers, takes forever to make decisions. In a crisis situation - as we are arguably now, it does not look good. And on top of it, after Sarkozy who always looked to be on top of everything, he looks positively passive. Sure, people had tired of Sarkozy's hyper behavior (especially since often he was the one creating the problems he was trying to solve later on) but Hollande went too far the other way.
      Of course it is not entirely fair for the French people to be mad at him for not doing everything in the first few months and taking the time for deep reforms but that's what has happened.
      Another fair criticism is that the government has been making a lot of stupid mistakes with ministers contradicting each other, decisions announced and taken back, laws passed not according to the rules and then taken down for that reason by the Conseil Constitutionnel ... A lot of amateurism in a team that had not known power in a decade and still finding its feet.
      Less fair of course is simply that the economy is still a disaster zone which hurts any presiding President, regardless of his responsibility in it. Many tough decisions have to be taken that would hurt anyone in power - even more when Hollande went through the campaign being intentionally vague about them.
      I find the current malaise to be an overreaction (and you know the media, as soon as his number started going down, they piled on in a way that made it worse) but their debut has not been very impressive - and that's coming from someone who voted for someone else in the primaries and has always found Hollande to be rather mediocre in the first place so my expectations were low.

      3) Well, I have to stop you right there. You may disagree with some of those measures (so do I) but it has nothing to do with "socialism". The party is named Parti Socialiste because of the history of the French Left and French politics is overall to the left of American politics on economic issues but there is nothing socialist about the PS anymore and there hasn't been in a long long time.

      3bis) The one measure that I hate along with you is the 75% tax rate on the top income earners. It is ridiculous but ironically it probably helped him win the election as Sarkozy was gaining momentum until Hollande put that on the table and then came back up and never looked back. It is ridiculous (and indeed it is now suddenly "temporary") but it worked in the French electorate - remember the French are very different from the Americans. They like that kind of stuff, even if it economic nonsense.
      The homework banning thing has been covered way more here than there actually. It was a though bubble that may or may not make sense but nothing more.
      And no, they didn't lower the retirement age. They did go partially back on one of Sarkozy's measures: Sarkozy had hiked the retirement age and the PS kept that but they did reintroduce a longstanding exception for those who had started working as teenagers in tough physical jobs and who used to have (and now have again) a parallel system where they can retire earlier if they have a required number of semesters worked. It was a symbolic measure of social justice since the number of people concerned was very small.

      4) To go back on your first point, I don't think Fillon's passivity is the main reason he will have lost but it clearly didn't help.

  •  Isn't the UMP the center right party? (0+ / 0-)

    There is a major party to the UMP's right in France, the National Front.

    (-6.12,-3.18), Dude, 24, MI-07 soon to be MI-12, went to college in DC-at large K-Pop Song du Jour: Miss A's "I Don't Need a Man"

    by kman23 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 04:55:42 PM PST

    •  No (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The UMP is the main party of the right. It was created to become a sort of Republican Party merging all the various families of the French Right in a main leading party - which it is.
      The National Front is a far-right party and the UDI is a new attempt to merge the moderate centre-right (some members were the leftovers who refused to merge into the UMP at its founding and another half were former members of the UMP who left).

  •  I might want to stop immigration too (0+ / 0-)

    our immigration situation is so much easier than the one the French face.Mexicans like to drink beer,BBQ,watch football and wait in the pickup truck while the wife buys stuff they don't need at Target.Mexican and Arizona cowboys are pretty much the same guys..not the case with the North Africans and the French.

    •  How many North Africans do you know? (0+ / 0-)

      Do you have some kind of weird misconception that they are all orthodox if not extremist Muslims? If so, you are wrong.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 10:35:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The French have a right to decide who they let in (0+ / 0-)

        This situation is dealt with as an art not a science.

        •  I notice you didn't answer (0+ / 0-)

          You don't advance an argument by offering stereotypes based on a lack of personal knowledge.

          Meanwhile, the North Africans didn't have a say in whether France occupied their lands. The colonies coming home to roost? Too damn bad, in my opinion. I'd say the same thing to racist Brits who don't like the "Pakis" in their country. Tough shit.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 05:29:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  When times get tough birds of a feather (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            tend to flock together... Tolerance can be taught but under pressure this stuff pops up...i deal with it all the time in dumbass Arizona and find when everyone has a few bucks for beer money this stuff dies down.
            Still,my friends that have lived in Egypt for years are getting out after being threatened by neighborhood goons.

            •  Things may be rough in North Africa (0+ / 0-)

              But the North Africans, and their descendants, who chose to leave and come to France include some very culturally French people, who, however, are not accepted as such by people whose ancestors didn't speak Arabic or Berber. I personally have known such people, including a woman who came to Lyon when she was 4. She's a completely "modern-thinking" irreligious person, but she is rejected by her society out of pure racism. She ended up married to a Corsican, because they perceived as just a bit more French than an "algerienne" like her.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:34:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site