When Absolute Means Relative, and the President Reverts to Adolescence

2 July 2024

This morning on France Inter, Marine Le Pen stated in no uncertain terms that Jordan Bardella would become prime minister only if the RN wins an absolute majority: “Why take power if one can’t act?” Two minutes later, she said that if the RN wins 250 or 260 seats, well short of an absolute majority, she would “go to others” to ask for their support. Which others? “The unaffiliated right, even the left, even Les Républicains.” So which is it? Absolute majority or relative majority?

Of course, no one has any right to demand clarity of Mme Le Pen when parts of the opposition that claims to be implacably opposed to the RN equivocate about désistements or, as heavyweights Le Maire and Philippe have done, state that they will not vote for candidates of the LFI.

Le Pen has cleverly turned the tables on all these champions of “republican values” by recasting her party’s traditional hostility to foreigners as a defense of those same values, laïcité and hostility to subcultural identifications (anti-communautarisme as the French would have it) foremost among them. We have nothing against Islam, her acolytes proclaim, but Muslims refuse to accept laïcité, and we insist that the true anti-Republican is Mélenchon, because he seeks to appeal to les communautés (read: the ghetto). These verbal games allow many who vote for the far right to do so with a clear conscience, thinking that they are upholding the values of the Republic against the traitors of the far left. And Macron’s choice to cast a vote for the center as a rejection of “the two extremes” only reinforced this interpretation.

Meanwhile, it is increasingly clear that if Macron does remain as president after next Sunday, he will have no authority over anyone. The independent positions already staked out by Darmanin, Philippe, and Le Maire show that nothing remains of la Macronie. Even Attal, by announcing his withdrawal of the unemployment insurance reform without informing the president, who learned of the decision via the press, has chosen to repay Macron in kind for dissolving the National Assembly without informing his prime minister or, as required by the constitution, the presidents of the Senate and National Assembly.

Meanwhile, Jupiter has been reduced to walking the streets of Le Touquet in a bomber jacket and baseball cap, with his former schoolteacher on his arm: regression to the glory days of his adolescence is the only escape left to him from the Huis Clos he created with his foolhardy decision to dissolve.


1 Comment

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Art:
    I am in agreement with your analysis and your condemnation of Macron, but think the last paragraph is unworthy of you. —And such biliousness gets us nowhere. Macron’s personal life is his personal life —as yours is yours. There’s enough to criticize in his political choices without throwing brickbats at his marriage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *