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View Diary: French Right chooses its new chief (41 comments)

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  •  If you don't campaign (1+ / 0-)
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    You're not going to win.  It's really as simple as that.  So I don't know a lot about the innerworkings of the UMP but that's a pretty hard and fast rule in politics.  I think that applies to Francois Fillon as it does to everyone else.  I thought Fillon represented a ritzy, well heeled Parisian District in Parliament.  I didn't know he was provincial.    

    Is Hollande already unpopular?  He only got elected in what, May?  I've heard about some of the things he's done since taking office and I am less than impressed.  75% tax rate on the top income earners?  Lowering the retirement age?  Banning all homework in public schools?  (I know that's only a talked about proposal but still.....).  But if anything, it reminds me that being a Socialist and being a Liberal are two different things.  

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    by SoCalLiberal on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:53:35 PM PST

    •  So many answers (3+ / 0-)
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      Radiowalla, SoCalLiberal, MichaelNY

      Let me get you through your questions in order

      1) He NOW represents a ritzy well-heeled district in Parliament but for more than twenty years he had been the député for a provincial small-town district in Western France. When he first decided to carpetbag (he announced it last year for this year's election) it was because he was thinking of running for Mayor of Paris and wanted a toehold in Paris. (For the record carpetbagging to become Mayor of Paris after decades as a representative for a rural district is exactly what Chirac did back in the day).
      But Copé has - rightfully - criticized him for this - if only because his new district is a safe rich district whereas without his high profile, his former district was lost to one of Hollande's best friends at the last Parliamentary elections. Anyhow, he is very much a man of that region - which is known for Social-Christian moderate conservatism and is only a recent carpetbagger in that Parisian district.

      2) Hollande is very very unpopular. Worst and fastest falling ratings for a President in fifty years. For many reasons. Some fair. Some less so.
      Among the fair ones, the fact that - as had been predicted by his rivals in the primary - he is not a man that knows how to make decisions. He postpones, contradicts himself, wavers, takes forever to make decisions. In a crisis situation - as we are arguably now, it does not look good. And on top of it, after Sarkozy who always looked to be on top of everything, he looks positively passive. Sure, people had tired of Sarkozy's hyper behavior (especially since often he was the one creating the problems he was trying to solve later on) but Hollande went too far the other way.
      Of course it is not entirely fair for the French people to be mad at him for not doing everything in the first few months and taking the time for deep reforms but that's what has happened.
      Another fair criticism is that the government has been making a lot of stupid mistakes with ministers contradicting each other, decisions announced and taken back, laws passed not according to the rules and then taken down for that reason by the Conseil Constitutionnel ... A lot of amateurism in a team that had not known power in a decade and still finding its feet.
      Less fair of course is simply that the economy is still a disaster zone which hurts any presiding President, regardless of his responsibility in it. Many tough decisions have to be taken that would hurt anyone in power - even more when Hollande went through the campaign being intentionally vague about them.
      I find the current malaise to be an overreaction (and you know the media, as soon as his number started going down, they piled on in a way that made it worse) but their debut has not been very impressive - and that's coming from someone who voted for someone else in the primaries and has always found Hollande to be rather mediocre in the first place so my expectations were low.

      3) Well, I have to stop you right there. You may disagree with some of those measures (so do I) but it has nothing to do with "socialism". The party is named Parti Socialiste because of the history of the French Left and French politics is overall to the left of American politics on economic issues but there is nothing socialist about the PS anymore and there hasn't been in a long long time.

      3bis) The one measure that I hate along with you is the 75% tax rate on the top income earners. It is ridiculous but ironically it probably helped him win the election as Sarkozy was gaining momentum until Hollande put that on the table and then came back up and never looked back. It is ridiculous (and indeed it is now suddenly "temporary") but it worked in the French electorate - remember the French are very different from the Americans. They like that kind of stuff, even if it economic nonsense.
      The homework banning thing has been covered way more here than there actually. It was a though bubble that may or may not make sense but nothing more.
      And no, they didn't lower the retirement age. They did go partially back on one of Sarkozy's measures: Sarkozy had hiked the retirement age and the PS kept that but they did reintroduce a longstanding exception for those who had started working as teenagers in tough physical jobs and who used to have (and now have again) a parallel system where they can retire earlier if they have a required number of semesters worked. It was a symbolic measure of social justice since the number of people concerned was very small.

      4) To go back on your first point, I don't think Fillon's passivity is the main reason he will have lost but it clearly didn't help.

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