Sunday, July 10, 2011

Marine Le Pen is no Sarah Palin

Marine Le Pen
David Seaton's News Links
Marine Le Pen is the leader of  France's National Front. Right now polls show her probably eliminating Nicholas Sarkozy in the first round of France's next presidential elections and facing a lackluster, Socialist, Martine Aubry, running as a hurried replacement for shop-soiled Dominique Strauss-Kahn  in the final runoff.

Le Pen probably wont win, but  before she loses, she is going to give a lot of people in power the fright of their lives.

Le Pen is a populist of the extreme right, someone who appeals to the disenchanted and stagnant middle classes and to working people struggling not to slide off into social exclusion in the present crisis. A glib American observer might be tempted to compare her with Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman, but, despite their having similar constituencies, in contrast with Palin and Bachman, this lady is nothing to laugh about.

The following snippet from Der Spiegel's English edition, will give you a taste of the style and the reality of Marine Le Pen:
Using her notes instead of a prepared speech, she speaks in short, hard-hitting sentences. She talks about issues like the loss of buying power, and about people who have no more than €50 or €100 ($71.50 or $143) left over at the end of each month. She warns against refugees from Tunisia, and against immigrants in general. She demands social welfare systems for the French instead of for immigrants. And then she finally gets to her central issue: the fight against globalization, which Le Pen says is destroying France. She wants to leave the euro, reintroduce customs borders and nationalize banks. Her vision is the antithesis of a Europe that hardly anyone, even in France, believes in anymore. "What are the others, the conservatives and the socialists, proposing? Nothing! They are busy fighting the National Front!" She rants and she is audacious, unlike the well-trained spin doctors normally seen on television, and she appeals to many people. "Elections are sexual affairs," the author Christine Angot wrote recently in the daily newspaper LibĂ©ration. "Marine Le Pen appeals to 20 percent of us and fascinates 80 percent. A mannish woman, phallic, we like that. A woman who dominates her father and gets better results." Der Spiegel
Whew, now that is change you can believe in!

Marine Le Pen is a sinister lady for sure, but what you see is what you get... when you compare her to American politicians, even, or especially to a pair of clowns like Palin and Bachman, American politics seems like a Punch and Judy show, with one puppeteer doing all the voices and the same hands up all the puppet's bottoms. 

And it's not just Palin and Bachman, even president Obama, who was once sold as a sort of medicine show cure-all, about to re-found the Republic in progressive righteousness, has turned out to be a damp squib... to put it mildly.

Even the ballsiest lady in US politics, Hillary Clinton, is basically somebody's wife, with no fighting agenda anybody could locate in a dimly lit room. No, there is no American equivalent to Marine Le Pen. And despite this in-definition, the system seems paralyzed by partisan conflict... Most puzzling.

The question is really: is this all embracing, bland, gummed up, impassive, unmovable phoniness, where everything changes in order that things never change, finally the genius of our system or its ruin? DS


Phil Freyder said...

>> this all embracing, bland, gummed up, impassive, unmovable phoniness, where everything changes in order that things never change, finally the genius of our system or its ruin? <<

I suspect that "ruin" may be the answer. The thrust of American electoral politics seems to be avoiding taking any clearly identifiable stand on any issue so that we don't offend ethnic, religious or interest groups. In consequence, successful politicians tend to make as few substantive statements as possible. Further, being elected depends largely on commercial virtues, not on intelligence or competence in public administration. The commercial virtues: being telegenic, having the right voice tone and speaking manner, the right rhetoric (Marine Le Pen understands this)--all superficial crap. Obama has the commercial virtues that millions of Americans were desperately seeking in 2008. And he's turned out to be an empty rhetorician. And when you add the vast dumbing-down of the voting population to this cocktail, I think we're in trouble.

Marine Le Pen and what she represents scare me. As a resident of Spain, I find the prospect of being governed by a conservative party "led" by and undertrained, cowardly, lazy, hypocritical provincial schlub called Mariano Rajoy--the people's least esteemed,least trusted politician--repellent. I'm an immigrant who lacks the dark skin (wish I had it: I'm tired of having skin tumors removed) to ensure my being persecuted by French or Spanish conservatives, but as a liberal, I wonder if I won't feel like a bit of a pariah after the upcoming elections. But that will be the least of our problems; the greatest: the seemingly inevitable return, in many ways, to the Spain of 1960.

The Europhile said...

Hey, who'd have thought Holland could produce a peroxide media fear mongering clown like Geert Wilders. One could argue he's the step sister to Le Pen.

And Holland's supposed to be tolerant, small, sure but wealthy with a healthy economy, full of merchants that have always known how to do biz outside, know how to make connections with Kazakhstan and other resource rich countries that will not be attacked by American, thankfully, due to Moscow. Enuf wars already.

We are in for major change and certainly not the kind we can believe in. We've witnessed the largest transfer of wealth from the Anglo-American and related economies to Eurasia and the middle east, the greatest in history, the present dollar-based fractional reserve currency system is unsustainable, combined with resource depletion, oi, it's going to start hitting everyone very, very hard.

There is no green technology bubble glowing along the horizon Mr. Friedman, we've reached the end of globalization, because resource-rich countries (them who have the oil or the food, or the gold) will simply stop selling them on the open global market.... just because America, Japan or Western Europe NEED the oil does not mean that countries have to sell it.... it will be a return to the golden rule..... he who has the gold, makes the rules; so to speak.

Yeah, I get the whole Libya thing, I even know a couple of the playerz who are cutting the oil deals over there as we speak....

This is a brutal world and its about to get a whole lot more so....I know you know it David, you write about it so well...sorry to be so gloomy, but I do get around and the things I hear aint so hot.....