Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
My "So?" in response to the comment from Cohn-Bendit was a question to you: what bearing  have his views about the French left got to do with why the "left" should listen to business?

In fact, what does listening to business have to do with populism? What does your diary have to do with listening to business?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 05:34:43 AM EST
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My apologies for the lack of coherence in my writing - which is far from worked out. When I look at, for example, Sarkozy's recent moves or the brilliant work that Ken Mehlman did for the US republicans I can understand what they are doing, why, and how. They are completely cynical and are able to put together very polished political marketing efforts that unite the varied resentments (real or not) of a number of constituencies to build power for their clients/selves. In some ways these guys are the heirs of Goebbels, but with all the benefits of both a better understanding of marketing and market research and also with much more presentable clients. On the other hand, "the left" seems slow to adapt and reluctant to listen. So when we discussed the EU vote, it looks to me like both the "non"-left failed to deal with the reality of the world market, as Cohn-Bendit says, but the oui-left failed to speak to the daily lives of people as Sarkozy says. This is something that struck me in both the "politicians should not listen to businessmen" and the California property tax discussion. One can dismiss this greedy fellow going to the UK ostensibly to avoid bureacracy but really to not pay his 35% tax, and dismiss those short
sighted greedy Californians who valued their homes over schools, and dismiss this surly bar patron who is not only an obvious fool, but a cliche as bad as a taxi driver, and so on. But my sense, and it is not a sense I can as yet back up with a detailed argument, is that all this scornful dismissal is a symptom of why the world is in the hands of Bush's, Blairs, Merkels, and Berlusconis and why even an obvous fraud like Sarkozy can not be laughed at when he strikes a populist pose
by citizen k (sansracine yahoo.fr) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 10:10:18 AM EST
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I think I understand your point/question better. Why is the right so much better at the simplistic talking points that the public craves in a complex and uncertain world? Maybe because the failure of the simplistic left (the communists) is more recent than that of the simplistic right (the fascists) and we remember is more clearly?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 01:37:06 PM EST
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I don't think it can be reduced to that, but I do think that people will go for crappy answers if those are the only ones. The California property tax disaster is the simple and clear case in point.
by citizen k (sansracine yahoo.fr) on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 at 08:29:29 PM EST
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One thing that Ralph Nader has complained about is that the public will study sports statistics ad nauseam, but if you try to make a moderately involved argument about policy their head starts to spin.

It's a matter of mental blocks, and the fact that people educate themselves (and are educated by the media) on sports statistics but not on economic statistics.

The crappy, simplistic argument always wins if you submit policy to a popular vote, unfortunately. I have no idea how you would change that - you cannot force people to educate themselves.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 3rd, 2005 at 08:11:00 AM EST
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