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Home / Tag Archives: Art Goldhammer: French Politics

Tag Archives: Art Goldhammer: French Politics

The Republicans Temporize

Share the post "The Republicans Temporize" With the news that Les Républicains are about to choose Christian Jacob as their new leader, it is clear that the party has no idea where it intends to go in the future. Christian Jacob is one of those politicians who has always gone wherever the power is at the moment, whether to follow Jacques Chirac, his first master, or Sarkozy, Copé, or Fillon in the years that followed. Fillon is supposed to have called him Rantanplan,...

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Whither Europe?

Share the post "Whither Europe?" It is now two weeks since the European Parliament elections, and the dust has yet to settle. It was a remarkable election in many ways–unprecedented, really. Normally, EP elections are referenda on incumbents; domestic issues outweigh European issues. It would be too much to say that domestic issues took a back seat this time; of course they always matter, or at any rate the “throw the bums out” reflex always counts for something. But...

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From de Gaulle to Tartuffe

Share the post "From de Gaulle to Tartuffe" To understand the collapse of Les Républicains, one has only to re-run one of the televised debates that preceded yesterday’s European elections. France2 had asked each of party representative to start off with a show-and-tell: each was to present an object illustrating the deep meaning of his or her party’s campaign. Le Pen’s choice was brilliant: she showed an image of a truck driver, one Loïc, who had suffered, she said,...

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Hot Take on the European Elections

Share the post "Hot Take on the European Elections" The polls were wrong. Despite a lackluster campaign, interest in this election was higher than predicted, and turnout rose. The contest between Macron and Le Pen ended about as expected, with Macron holding his own despite six months of Gilets Jaunes protests–a victory of sorts. But the big news was the collapse of the Republicans, who finished with only 8, despite polls showing that François-Xavier Bellamy–a...

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Mayday

Share the post "Mayday" May 1, the tradition fête des travailleurs et travailleuses, turned out not be quite as apocalyptic as the authorities had warned, perhaps exaggerating a bit in order to frighten away potential marchers. Neither was it the convergence des luttes that Jean-Luc Mélenchon had called for. Most of all, it did not signify a renewal of the trade union movement, as Philippe Martinez, the leader of the CGT, had to be exfiltrated from the line of march, or...

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The Contradictions of Populism

Share the post "The Contradictions of Populism" Since November 17 of last year, we have been regaled every Saturday with the lament of the Gilets Jaunes, those salt-of-the-earth French men and women who join together to protest the bloated state of pampered civil servants who batten themselves at taxpayer expense while good people in the provinces struggle to make ends meet. But at least one of those pampered civil servants turns out to be one of the more telegenic...

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Macron, Act II

Share the post "Macron, Act II" After Gilets Jaunes Act XXIII, yesterday the curtain rose on Macron Act II. There were innovations in both form and substance. Let me begin with the form, where the change was more noticeable. This was the first press conference of this presidential term. The setting, the newly renovated Salle des Fêtes in the Elysée, was spectacular and made to seem so by the occasional cutaway shots showing the impressive gilt ceiling, the forest of...

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Youthful Indiscretions

Share the post "Youthful Indiscretions" The otherwise dull-as-dishwater campaign for the European elections has produced one amusing passe-d’armes involving two rather surprising combatants: Nathalie Loiseau, the head of LREM’s list, and Edwy Plenel, the editor of Médiapart. Médiapart revealed that when Loiseau was a student at SciencesPo, her name appeared on a list of candidates for the far-right student organization UED (affiliated with the notorious extremist group...

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From Democracy in the Streets to Democracy in Danger

Share the post "From Democracy in the Streets to Democracy in Danger" Above is the video of a talk I gave at the University of Chicago on April 17 at the invitation of Prof. James Sparrow. The text is below, for anyone who may be interested. From Democracy in the Streets to Democracy in Danger  “Who am I and why am I here?” You’re all too young to remember the 1992 presidential campaign, in which a little-known retired admiral named James Stockdale introduced himself...

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Mélenchon: “Federate the people!”

Share the post "Mélenchon: “Federate the people!”" Jean-Luc Mélenchon contains multitudes. After the Notre-Dame fire, he was among the most eloquent of commentators, intimately familiar with the history of the cathedral. But his familiarity with the vast panorama of French history did not prevent him from ludicrously comparing Éric Drouet, one of the leaders of the leaderless Gilets Jaunes, to Jean-Baptiste Drouet, the postmaster of Sainte-Menehould, le bon citoyen who...

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