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Pangloss

A Touch of Gaul

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I read tonight that France appears poised to elect a conservative president and overturn decades of socialism in favor of a pro-American capitalist who pledges tax cuts, crackdowns on crime, immigration reform, reduced government ownership of industry and public funding for religious organizations.

 

And I didn't suddenly wake up at that point, either. I kept dreaming, and learned that he also proposes capping tax rates at 50% of income (instead of 70%), eliminating welfare for unemployed workers who refuse to take work offered to them, reforming copyright law, and eliminating the budget deficit. (Well I guess he's not a total Republican....)

 

But no, it's really not a dream, it's actually happening. Bizarre, isn't it? He's actually favored to win in the runoff election this weekend. The polls say more than a million French voters would have to change their minds in order for him to lose.

 

So how could this man possibly win? You're gonna love this, it's the best part of all: Because his opponent is a woman!

 

That, apparently, is the price of France's anti-Americanism. They'll do anything to keep a woman out of the presidency, even going so far as to embrace (gasp) capitalism!

 

Of course, as this story points out, the Socialists won't go quietly, unsurprisingly pledging violent rioting if he wins. And that's from the Socialist presidential candidate... herself!

 

Stories like this just make my whole week. :D

 

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/world/05/05/5France.html

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Sarkozy will win…

 

That, apparently, is the price of France's anti-Americanism. They'll do anything to keep a woman out of the presidency, even going so far as to embrace (gasp) capitalism!

 

This has nothing to do with anti-Americanism. In France, being a woman is still a huge handicap for politicians. They still don't how they should call her if she were to win the election.

 

Personally, I wouldn’t vote this round, two bad candidates. The status quo in France is unacceptable; it’s perhaps one of the best examples of where bad “socialist” economic policies can lead. The government is big, control too much, it’s hard to hire because it’s hard to fire, starting a company is complicated, and the public system is renowned for being clumsy (except for their healthcare system, one of the best in the world). They’re also not on the good side of the “brain” drain anymore. With Royal, it’s more of the same, she would continue inadequate socialist policies, she wants to raise the minimal wage, implement new programs, et cetera… But Sarkozy is no better, I support some of his economic policies, but most of his show is not about economics, it’s about being tough on crimes, it’s about children that should stand up when their teacher enter the class (seriously), it’s about national identity. He’s a populist, he says what a frustrated generation wants to hear, and I think this kind of politicians can’t be trusted.

 

In France, IMO, they need a pragmatic politician, someone that would cut the endless tentacles that are currently choking the French economy, and someone that would also end the paternalistic French approach to politics inherited from De Gaulle.

 

As a side note, there was at least one very refreshing thing in this campaign. The journalists kept their nose out of the personal life of the candidates.

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I suspect that their "right wing" candidate will have policies that are to the left of our "left wing" prime minister. Mr Blair.

Also, while it spoils the telegraph's story, surely the French have addressed this problem before? The French word for teacher is masculine; not all teachers in France are men.

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This has nothing to do with anti-Americanism. In France, being a woman is still a huge handicap for politicians.

 

Sure it does -- anti-Americanism has apparently been a prime factor in the election. The Socialist candidate has used photographs of the Conservative candidate in the White House and many statements and opinions to try and paint the Conservative candidate as favoring American policy and Bush in particular. She's playing on anti-Americanism. Absolutely.

 

The fact that French voters are voting for him anyway speaks *volumes* about the French attitude towards America right now. It tells us that they place their anti-Americanism just slightly below their hatred for the idea of having a woman run the country.

 

I realize these are just socio-political trends and don't speak for individuals. I don't accuse all French people of hating women or Americans. But I think a country's voting habits speaks volumes about its socio-political environment. Don't you?

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That, apparently, is the price of France's anti-Americanism. They'll do anything to keep a woman out of the presidency, even going so far as to embrace (gasp) capitalism!

 

Just to clarify, are you saying voting against a woman is anti-American? Is there some association I'm missing here?

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Anti-Americanism clearly played a role in the election, because it was used by the Socialist candidate to paint the Conservative candidate in a negative light. The fact that it was unsuccessful suggests that anti-American sentiment is less important to French voters than voting against a female candidate.

 

It's obviously a generalization and is not intended as a summary of the entire voting picture in France. I'm well aware that many Socialist party measures have been unpopular. But I think it's clear that they still have a tremendous voting base, and are extremely unhappy about this potential shift in French government. The political situation is analogous to that in the United States at the moment, with extremists upset about election results and the power of mainstream/moderate voters.

 

But I just can't resist a dig about anti-Americanism being offset by opposition to a female candidate. That's just too rich and obvious a dynamic to ignore. It's like sticking it to those three Republican candidates on the subject of Evolution over in the other thread -- just because they made that statement doesn't mean they'd put Creationism in public schools. But the dynamic is clear and obvious, and absolutely noteworthy.

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Also, while it spoils the telegraph's story, surely the French have addressed this problem before? The French word for teacher is masculine; not all teachers in France are men.

 

In fact, the French word for teacher is "Professeur", and the feminine is "Professeure". Same thing goes with president, "Présidente" is the feminine, and it's used in Quebec. For some reason, many French women dislike using the feminine as they feel it doesn't carry the same weight.

 

But I think a country's voting habits speaks volumes about its socio-political environment. Don't you?

 

Yes I do. But this election is about frustration against the French system (plus a little xenophobia), I followed the campaign and I really don't feel anti-Americanism was a major issue. Most candidates were trying to distance themselves from old French politics.

 

I don't think Royal was playing the anti-American card, she was playing the anti-Bush card. This is the new trick of the left, while European conservatives are exploiting the post-9/11 paranoia about immigrants, the left is trying to make some gains by comparing anything to the Bush administration, it was done in Sweden, Italy, Germany, Canada... and now France. Bush is not even popular in the United-States. After what happened with the Iraq war, I think we could have expected Royal to use the anti-Bush sentiment much more than she actually did.

 

Royal wanted to meet Clinton some time ago, but Clinton cancelled after Royal blundered in the middle-east, right after she praised China's "swift" justice system :)

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Has anyone considered the idea that the French might want to vote for a right winger because they feel that the left wing has gone a bit far?

Could it be that in this matter, both sex and America are not important?

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