Sarkozy out in France

posted at 8:41 am on May 7, 2012 by Morgen Richmond

The “conservative” era is officially drawing to a close in France, following Sarkozy’s loss yesterday to the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande in a run-off election. Here’s a glimpse at what the people of France voted for, via the Daily Mail:

The uncharismatic Mr Hollande, who has never held any ministerial office and is the first socialist to win the French presidency since Francois Mitterrand in 1988, has been an outspoken advocate of rewriting the plans to save the [Euro].

He wants a new ‘preamble’ written into the new European fiscal pact signed by 25 EU nations to water down calls for austerity measures.

He is demanding a change to strict rules which dictate how much member states can spend, without which most observers believe a new European economic crisis is inevitable.

After his victory he said that one of his priorities was to ‘preserve our social model’ – a reference to France’s generous welfare state.

The new president has pledged to spend an extra 20 billion euros in the years ahead to kickstart the economy and wants to slap a 75 per cent tax rate on those earning more than one million euros a year, or around £850,000.

Hollande’s victory is being framed as a vote to end austerity in France, and clearly reducing the deficit will not be Hollande’s top priority. But based on exit polling, and with the other conservative candidates in the general election refusing to endorse Sarkozy, the election seems to have been more a referendum on Sarkozy’s leadership than anything else. GDP growth in France has languished between 1-2% since the last official recession ended at the end of 2009, and their unemployment rate is the highest among G8 nations by a fairly wide margin.

So although I doubt a presidential election in France has ever foreshadowed an election outcome here in the U.S., there are obviously some parallels between Sarkozy’s situation and the electoral climate President Obama faces this year. While faring slightly better than France, GDP and employment growth have languished in the U.S. as well and unless the economy turns around dramatically, Obama is likely to confront the same sort of broad-based, voter discontent which was clearly a factor in Sarkozy’s defeat.

But the contrasts are interesting too with a far-left candidate in France riding a wave of voter discontent, and promising “change” in the form of increased government spending and higher taxes, in order to displace the more conservative Sarkozy. This sounds more like our election in 2008 but here we are 4 years later and President Obama’s policies have failed to effect any lasting economic growth. (Hollande can only dream of spending even a fraction of what Obama oversaw with the stimulus act.) With President Obama seemingly moving forward in the 2012 campaign with the same progressive ideas he’s been touting since 2007, Mitt Romney seems well-positioned to capitalize as the candidate of real change in this race, with a conservative framework for ramping up economic growth and ratcheting down the federal deficit. But just like in France, it remains unclear what sort of impact class resentment may have on the race. If Romney can neutralize this line of attack from Democrats (a tall order), and convince more voters that he has the best economic plan (an easier task), and barring any surprises, he should win in November. Easier said than done.

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France has gone from reliable ally to unreliable NATO partner.

France has never been a reliable ally. At best they have at times been a luke warn reluctant ally.

Remember Iraq? The first time in 1991 they had to be dragged in kicking and screaming at the last moment. Their contribution was minimal. In 2003 they deliberately undercut US efforts, lied to and back stabbed us, and collaborated with Saddam. One of the consequences of that was the US MSM/Left/Dems established the idiotic meme and principal that unless France is with us we are “going it alone”.

In Afghanistan the few thousand French soldiers there have never been allowed to engage offensive military operations. They are there only to train Afghans and return fire when fired on. While US and British soldiers cooperate in taking the fight to the Taliban the French are under orders to stay in their bases. When Afghanistan started to go south in 2006-7 and NATO commanders were begging for more troops the French contributed nothing more.

France did not lift a finger in the Balkans, their own back yard, until Clinton did, and only then reluctantly.

I could go on, but won’t. The more cordial relationship we’ve seen under Sarkozy has been the exception rather than the rule.

Under Sarkozy the French joined the US-British-German effort to impose sanctions on Iran, but I expect that to end. I expect Hollande will undermine the sanctions regime. I expect the coalition opposing Iran’s nuke program to crumble, led by France.

Under Sarkozy the French took on Libya, but only because it was very much in their own national interest — Libya is practically next door and was a major oil supplier to France and Mediterranean Europe.

However, even under Sarkozy the French, our NATO ally in a NATO effort, did not substantively increase their already minimal contribution in Afghanistan when it was most needed and most requested.

farsighted on May 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Back to America hating France, especially after Obama leaves in November.

It was a nice run.

scotash on May 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM

I meant that reversed btw. France hating America.

One of the consequences of that was the US MSM/Left/Dems established the idiotic meme and principal that unless France is with us we are “going it alone”.
farsighted on May 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM

As for farsighted’s quote, you are correct.

The claim of “unilateral” U.S. action with a coalition of 30+ countries was because French President Chirac got offended at the last minute and pulled his 10,000 troops out of the coalition.

scotash on May 7, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Ah, to be in Paristan in the Spring!

/coming soon to what’s left of France.

mankai on May 7, 2012 at 2:01 PM

So in France austerity is retiring at 62 rather than 60?

Good grief.

PattyJ on May 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM

What will really be different in France after this election?

Dr Evil on May 7, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Nothing substantial.

Do people remember how France was totally different once Chirac replaced Mitterrand? And when Sarkozy replaced Chiract? No? Exactly.

joana on May 7, 2012 at 2:24 PM

There is something amiss about a man who, in response to the cheers of an adoring throng, casts his arms wide and juts his chest forward, as if basking in a summer breeze.

Chuckles3 on May 7, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Looks like we have to save ourselves in November, than go save Britain and the Europeans from themselves and the Muslem hordes.

This time I want you to be grateful, instead of being Socialist architects of our demise.

Typicalwhitewoman on May 7, 2012 at 2:36 PM

So in France austerity is retiring at 62 rather than 60?

Good grief.

PattyJ on May 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM

We are already far past that. Julia — Barack Obama’s composite woman — finally retires at age 67 in his diorama of her life.

And, at age 67, Barack Obama is still President, as he was when Julia was age 3.

unclesmrgol on May 7, 2012 at 4:46 PM

The supposedly rich will leave France just as over 4000 rich left NYC shocking the Cities Government that had already counted on the taxes to fund their entitlement programs. It was the same time Rush left and moved to Florida laughing all the way.

mixplix on May 7, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Looking on the bright side of things, maybe the occupy morons will all move to France in massive droves.

tom2789 on May 7, 2012 at 6:31 PM

75% tax on the rich?

Progressive/Communist Democrat leadership over here falls on the floor and has a politigasm at the thought of this.

PappyD61 on May 7, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Does it really matter what the percent is so long as we/they live in a corruptocracy where kickbacks, loopholes, partisan favoritism and government subsidies exist?

The really rich in this country are for the most part Democrats. Do you think they care that the Republican party seems on the surface to be working towards a lower tax rate so long as they can make special (wink wink) arrangements with Obama?

True, conservatives who don’t support the new president will probably flee France just as Rush left New York; many others, though, will stay and make deals. Think of Buffett who’s doing just fine these days.

Burke on May 7, 2012 at 11:10 PM

My favorite Frenchman’s take on it all….

TBinSTL on May 8, 2012 at 12:45 AM

See what Obama is telling Francois Hollande NOT to do:

Hint: It involves austerity and taxes on those “evil rich” people.

Obama To France: Do As I Say Not As I Do, Mon Cher

Music by Alanis Morissette

Hypocrite much?

You betcha.

Resist We Much on May 8, 2012 at 1:47 PM