Ah, French Whine

  • Marine Le Pen will challenge incumbent Emmanuel Macron for the French Presidency.
  • The first round wasn’t as tight as many thought it would be.
  • After the other candidates lost, all but one endorsed Macron.

Happy Tuesday from sun-drenched Italy.

This past weekend, my Airbnb host Gianluca kindly invited Pam, Micah, and me to have an aperitivo on his terrace.

Aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink with finger foods and a good giggle.

Think happy hour, but with class.

Gianluca made arrangements for us to meet his friend Simone, who’s a teacher at the local bilingual school.

It was a lovely time.

But one thing struck me as really funny: the Italians make the same jokes about the French as the English do.

Don’t get me wrong.

Everyone here loves Provence, Bordeaux wine, and brie… when they’re in France.

But outside France, the French people are the butt of jokes, I suspect, throughout this entire continent.

I don’t think anyone calls them cheese-eating surrender monkeys.  Even the Germans have too much class for that.

Nevertheless, the French seem to annoy everyone.

Think Duke basketball on a countrywide scale.

And right on cue, the French provided everyone a reason to roll their eyes at them… once again.

Let’s unpack what happened in France on Sunday and why the result has the elites reaching for their flasks.

Le Petit Roi and Le Pen… Again

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will face off once again in the second round of the French presidential election.

Macron won more comfortably than most suspected, beating Le Pen 27.8% to 23.1%.

The polls had suggested a closer race, and indeed, Macron won by a smaller margin in 2017.

Jean-Luc Melanchon, the far-left firebrand, came third with 22% of the vote.

Eric Zenmour, who sits to the right of Le Pen politically, won 7.1% of the vote.

The rest of the candidates were a lost cause, not garnering more than 5%.

It’s hilarious, as the conservatives and the socialists got trounced again and are now spent forces in French politics.

Sadly, this isn’t a surprise for them.

And since the French government (read: taxpayer) doesn’t reimburse the campaign costs of those parties who don’t get at least 5% of the vote, they are in existential trouble.

So there’s a lot of neck-rubbing going on in Paris.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

But what’s so pathetic to me is how each of the losers – save Zenmour – told their supporters to vote for Macron.

It’s like saying, “I didn’t want to make any changes.  I just wanted his job and his paycheck.”

I think it’s ridiculous.

From The Guardian, where I get all my left-wing giggles:

“Not a single vote for Le Pen!” Mélenchon thundered to his supporters after polls showed up to one-third of them might be tempted to give an “anti-system” vote to Le Pen because they despised Macron.

“Of course, I’ll now vote for Macron without a second’s hesitation – not for his platform but to keep out Le Pen, otherwise we’ll drift into far-right dictatorship,” Aminata [allegedly a 19-year-old student] said.

A right-wing dictatorship?  In France?

Does this student know anything about the country she lives in?

So these “revolutionaries” are happy enough to hold their nose and vote for Macron now?

Allegedly, 30% of Melenchon supporters prefer Le Pen to Macron, but their leader won’t have it.

By the way, if she got those votes plus Zenmour’s, I reckon she’d win.

And that’s what’s got the “intelligentsia” up in arms.

Their punch bowl may be taken away.

Of course, the French version of antifa burned down a few garbage bins in some French cities, but hey, that’s what they do.

Antifa is against everything.

Everyone on the right provides them with something to be against.

What Happens to the EU If Le Pen Wins?

Marine Le Pen softened up after her beating in 2017.

She’s no longer clamoring to get out of the EU, allegedly because of the British experience.

But probably because she knows it’s too much, too soon for her prospective followers.

Her current followers would pull the EU plug 10 minutes ago if they could.

And it’s not just the EU, and hence, the euro, that’s at risk.

Marine Le Pen isn’t a big fan of NATO.

Le Pen has called for France to pull out of NATO’s integrated command structure “so as to be no longer caught up in conflicts that are not ours.”

We may laugh at France’s expense, but it’s the only significant military power in the EU, holds the union’s only permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and is the only EU member that is a nuclear power.

If France opposed Germany in sanctioning Russia, the already failed strategy would have its time of death called.

Did I mention Le Pen and old Pooty Poot get along just fine?

To me, Russia invading Ukraine doesn’t prove we need NATO.

It proves we should’ve disbanded NATO 30 years ago.

The EU itself said of its birth:

The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries that trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict.

Why didn’t that apply to Russia after the Soviet collapse?

Perhaps Ms. Le Pen would indeed go another way – even in 2022.

And that would be a genuine shake-up, one no comfy Brussels bureaucrat wants.

Wrap Up

Though France is my neighbor to the west and north, I don’t really care who’s in charge of their inertia for the next five years.

It’s up to them.

But you can’t be revolutionaries without a revolution.

And if the losers’ supporters all vote for Macron, France will have five more years of failed diplomacy, political gridlock, and abject boredom.

It’s their shout.

But I’d love to see what would happen in Le Pen got in.

Would France lose her way or find it again?

Would Le Pen be able to get anything done because of intense political backstabbing a la Donald Trump?

Would she call off the Russian sanctions, especially since France still has companies in Russia?

We’ll find out whether or not she gets a shot on April 24th.

But really, Macron will probably prevail.

Until then, we can dream.

All the best,

Sean

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