France

Macron inaugurated (plus notes from our man in Paris)

Featured image Emmanuel Macron became France’s president today. He chose to mark his inauguration day with military symbolism. For example, he broke with tradition by boarding an open-topped, camouflage military jeep, instead of a civilian limousine, for the traditional drive up the Champs-Élysées where he lit the flame in tribute to France’s war dead at the tomb for the unknown soldier. I don’t assume that Macron is “appropriating” military symbolism for cynical »

The French election: Our man in Paris reports

Featured image We have a correspondent in Paris (why should Council Bluffs be the only city so honored?). He’s an American who has lived and worked in Paris for the last 15 years as an attorney. He’s been involved in U.S. politics on behalf of the Republican Party in the expat community in France for the same period. He filed this report: 1. The election was won by centrist En Marche candidate »

Macron crushes Le Pen [UPDATED]

Featured image Initial reports from France are that Emmanuel Macron has decisively beaten Marine Le Pen in the presidential election. The French newscast we’re watching estimates that Macron will end up with around 65 percent of the vote. This isn’t quite the shellacking Le Pen’s father experienced in the 2002 run-off. That year, Jacques Chirac defeating Jean-Marie Le Pen by a count of 82-18. However, Marine Le Pen’s showing is still poor. »

De Gaulle confronts Islam

Featured image Ross Douthat’s recent New York Times columns on French politics here (April 29) and here (May 3) are both not only good, but also full of interesting reading in the links accessible online. Referring to the French presidential candidate who is predicted to lose the election being held today, Douthat asserts in the first of these two columns: [T]he politician that Le Pen has obviously strained to imitate is not »

Marxist economics

Featured image Yesterday, I mentioned Marine Le Pen’s advocacy of the use of two currencies in France. Patriotic, salt-of-the-earth Frenchmen would use the French franc; elitist bloodsuckers would use the Euro. Just kidding. Actually, the franc would be used for France’s “home economy.” The Euro would be used for international trade. Le Pen was hard pressed to defend this seemingly inane proposal during her debate with Emmanuel Macron. This account by CNN »

Marine Le Pen — not normalized

Featured image A few days ago, I wrote of Marine Le Pen: Even if Le Pen trounces Macron in the debate, she’s unlikely to defeat him in the election. . .But Le Pen can achieve much even in defeat. To use the American left’s term, she can be “normalized.” Actually, I find Le Pen pretty normal for a politician. . .The views Le Pen expresses don’t strike me as abnormal given the »

The Le Pen-Macron slugfest

Featured image Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, the two remaining candidates for president of France, debated last night in advance of the election to be held this weekend. I watched only a small part of the debate because (1) my lack of skill in comprehending French, when spoken quickly, prevented me from following as closely as I wanted and (2) it was frustrating viewing because the two contestants kept speaking over »

Emmanuel Macron: Wrong man, wrong time?

Featured image In an article called “The French, Coming Apart,” Christopher Caldwell, drawing heavily on the work of author Christophe Guilluy, argues that globalization has effectively cut France in two. In 16 dynamic urban areas, Caldwell says, the world’s resources have proved a profitable complement to those found in France. However, other cities and towns have become “desertified,” with the empty storefronts and blighted downtown sectors Rust Belt Americans know well. Caldwell »

A Strange Fact About Emmanuel Macron

Featured image The French election has come down to a runoff between Emmanuel Macron and Marine le Pen. The French establishment is uniting behind Macron, who is considered a mainstream figure. In one respect, though, his history is odd: he is married to one of his high school teachers, who was a married mother of three when they met. The Sun has the story, with the headline: “How French election front runner »

French voters in the U.S. have no use for Le Pen

Featured image Here is how the vote among French citizens living in the United States went in the presidential election, according to a post I saw on Facebook that cited an official government source: Macron: 51 percent Fillon: 25 percent Mélenchon: 10 percent Hamon: 5.5 percent Le Pen: 5 percent Macron and Fillon can be viewed as candidates of, respectively, the center-left and the center-right establishments. Mélenchon and Le Pen can be »

Macron and Le Pen are one-two in France [UPDATED]

Featured image Minutes ago, the “estimated” voting results in the first round of the French presidential election were released. Emmanuel Macron (“neither left nor right”) leads with 23 percent, followed by ultra-nationalist Marine Le Pen with 21. Conservative Francois Fillon and Communist Jean-Luc Mélenchon were both at 19.5. Hapless Socialist Benoit Hamon had around 7 percent of the vote. Either the French broadcast that presented these results didn’t say what, exactly, “estimated” »

Themes from a presidential campaign

Featured image Voting in the French presidential election occurred today for citizens living outside of France. My wife voted at the French embassy here in Washington. Citizens living in France will vote tomorrow. The French government sent a package to potential voters containing brief pamphlets from each candidate. The front page featured a picture and a slogan. Slogans can sometimes be revealing. “Make America Great Again” and “Hope and Change” were good »

Hard times for French Socialists

Featured image John wrote below about the sorry state of the British Labour Party. It has fallen so low that it’s reduced to advertising on Twitter for candidates. In France, the Socialist Party is the analog of the British Labour Party. It has fallen even lower. In the presidential election be held this weekend, the Socialist candidate, Benoit Hamon, is expected to finish fifth. That would make him, in effect, a fringe »

News Flash: Paris Terrorist Had Been Jailed For Trying to Kill Cops

Featured image The Daily Mail has the story, along with, as usual, an abundance of photos: A policeman was shot dead while two other officers were seriously injured by a Kalashnikov-wielding gunman on the Champs Elysees in central Paris – just three days before the French presidential election. The alleged ISIS gunman, identified as 39-year-old Karim C – who was jailed for 20 years for trying to kill officers in 2001 – »

Terrorist Attack In Paris [Multiple Updates]

Featured image A little while ago, at least two men armed with Kalashnikovs attacked two Parisian police officers who reportedly were stopped at a light on the Champs-Élysées. They shot both officers. One was killed on the spot, the other died shortly later of his wounds. (This second death has not been officially confirmed at this time.) One of the attackers was killed at the site, while the other apparently escaped. Early »

New twists in the French presidential election

Featured image When I last wrote about France’s upcoming election, it looked like the Socialist party would nominate hard-leftist Benoit Hamon and that he would lose out in the first round of the general election to Francois Fillon of France’s conservative party, considered something of a Thatcherite, and Marine Le Pen of the National Front. It seemed to me that Fillon would have a decided edge in a two-way race against Le »

French Socialist party in trouble; story is similar throughout Europe

Featured image The French Socialist party held its primary yesterday in the race to succeed Francois Hollande as the party’s standard bearer. Hollande’s presidency has been such a disaster that he declined to stand for re-election. Former education minister Benoit Hamon came in first with around 36 percent of the vote. He will face former prime minister Manuel Valls, who captured around 31 percent of the vote. Hamon is a left-winger. He »