Occupiers of the world, unite! Heading into Sunday’s primary runoff, France’s Socialists show the way.
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Mr. Montebourg, who married a princess in an old-fashioned Catholic ceremony, understands this better than they do. Not unlike his own father, who married an Algerian princess, thus demonstrating the potentiality of what some in France still call “republican integration,” the ability of the republic to bring people together in national concord under a meritocratic, free, and egalitarian set of principles, Montebourg senses the danger of Euromush.
But he does not draw the logical conclusion, which is that the answer to this danger is Eurosteel. He favors old-hat solutions, notably the nationalization of the financial sector, which is simply silly apart from having been done disastrously in the not-too-recent past — Martine Aubry’s dad, Jacques Delors, had to save the French economy from just such a solution when he was François Mitterrand’s Finance Minister; the truth is that neither man believed it would work but they went through the motions in order to convince the Socialists they were Socialists, even though Delors was of the Christian-Democrat background and Mitterrand, a monarchist in his youth, was his own sly fox.
Instead of saying the French version of ain’t no more difference between those rascals as between a nickel an’ a dime (which if you want to know is “tous pourri!”), Mr. Montebourg came out for Mr. Hollande. I lost a bet on that, but gambling is a little like investing. I would have thought he preferred Aubry due to her blue-collar social democrat side, seeing as how she is mayor of Lille in France’s north and thus a protégé of her old-school predecessor there, Pierre Mauroy. Also, he, I mean Montebourg, served as spokesman for Ségolène Royal, who is the mother of Hollande’s children, and he famously said Miss Royal’s only problem was her boyfriend. He was fired for that, but the power couple broke up. Or maybe they already had broken up. You can look it up. The key point, anyway, is that Royal comes from an austere right-wing family, the kind that can, given a few turns in a life, produce in its daughters the same values as those the republican hussar Montebourg sees in the mirror.
Since no one said anything real in these primaries, their significance lies in the evidence they provided for the persistence of significant nationalist currents in the ranks of the left. How Arnaud Montebourg capitalizes on the prestige he gained for championing these currents should shape his own political career, which still lies before him. For the business directly at hand, I guess everybody’s getting on the Hollande bandwagon — even his ex — because nothing beats a loser like a winner. Gambling is addictive, however, so I am putting my dough again on Aubry on Sunday. What the hell, you know.
Anyway, we too are surrounded on all sides by men and women of the centrist persuasion. We will wring our hands and sit on them, just like them, and then we will bail them out, though with what money only Mr. Bernanke can say.
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Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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