Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Hello, wegerje - lately a number of people with low user IDs here (like you) have taken to posting diaries, let's hope the trend continues!

The Counterpunch piece is of course very different from some others we've been looking at (NYT, Globe and Mail, Marianne...). By and large there's a much better appreciation and knowledge of French political life in the article. I would differ over Le Pen and the Front National, though it's essentially true that Marine Le Pen (subject to whether she manages to keep the FN together after her father's demise) is leading the party towards the mainstream.

There's some confusion, and repetition of right-wing talking points gleaned from the MSM, over Ségolène Royal's candidature. At one point the authors say:

With the risk of Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal not even making it into the second round, many people on the "left of the left" are likely to cast a "useful" vote for her in the first round.

and at another:

Royal has been playing too much to the center to gain "useful" votes from the radical left,

though the difference may lie in what Johnstone and Bricmont consider is the "radical left". Above all, while noting the unreliability of the polls that we have been talking about here, the authors seem to be using them to base their opinion of the weakness of Royal's challenge. For an idea of what the polls (in spite of their unreliability) say about this, here is a chart made by NordicStorm which averages all the polls:

Of course, the first round of the election is next Sunday, and many undecided voters have yet to make up their minds. But there doesn't seem to be much evidence in that chart (from last Sunday, but polls since don't show an adverse trend) that Royal will not be in the run-off.

As to the main question, will Sarkozy "Bushicize" France if he wins, the answer is probably yes and no. The authors are right he's not a Gaullist (though they are mistaken imo in saying he has cleared Gaullism out of the Gaullist party, that was happening anyway, he is a symptom rather than a cause). He certainly has more globalising and neo-liberal (economic) tendencies than Chirac. But the authors seem to me to be waving a scare flag without producing much evidence. The idea that he would set up a dictatorship (supposing he could) seems particularly overstated. That he would come up against opposition and that France would go through turbulence is not, however, to be discounted.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 03:43:05 PM EST
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.

I regret to tell you that it is not likely I will be posting more diaries here again soon. I try to pay attention to what's happening in Europe, but it is always as a learner rather than someone with the solid groundings needed for diaring.

I very much appreciate the existance of the ET blog and its community of English language Europeans. I do very much desire that your community grow and remain strong and will try to keep a look out for opportunities to participate either with comments or diaries of my own.

Thanks so much for the reprint of the polling graph. That is worth it's pixels in gold. Of course only to the extent that it's drifts are born out.

With structures like the EU and NAFTA I sometimes fantasize Illinois or even Chicago becoming an "independent" country, tied to our neighbors still in many ways but then less tied in others. But as always such fantasies usually assume that the connection between the local and the central is more democratic than either the current U.S. and the current E.U. Both are still overly favorable to big money and corporate structures.

I suppose Royal to be comparable to Edwards and Obama, neither of whom are "progressive" enough for my tastes but each with potentially redeeming qualities.

Thanks again for your thoughtful and informative reply.

Jeff Wegerson - Prairie State Blue

by wegerje on Wed Apr 18th, 2007 at 04:20:51 PM EST
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