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Les Miserables partie deux

by pelcan Wed May 9th, 2007 at 06:57:02 PM EST

After Dubya won by a larger margin in 2004, the late and great Molly Ivins quoted a man who said, "Don't worry now, the worse is yet to come." (Luckily, Ivins lived to see us take back America in '06) So it's time to look at the brighter side of the French elections- as well as some of the darker moments, Andy Rooney-style.

The media (I'm not citing editorials), the English speaking ones, at least, were pretty much pro-Sarko, and I don't mean to be bitter. They cite outrageous concerns about Sego, such as she talks much but accomplishes little (So helping cheesemakers in her province and improving the environment doesn't count?) and consistently cite her inexperience, having only listed family and environment minister for her background (frequently leaving out presidency of the Poitou-Charentes region and parliament seat). The top news stories left about her cite the "likely" split-up of the Socialist party, party criticism of her (is it really that serious?), and her failure to gain the woman vote (48% voted for her, however, 64% of women 60 and older voted Sarko). The wikipedia article spend more time on a brother who helped blow up the Rainbow Warrior than her accomplishments as president of Poitou-Charentes region (more specifically, none).

On the positive side, there's still a parliamentary election coming up to block the Sarko agenda, as well as an ample amount of lessons about the campaign. For one, don't appear desperate and eager to provoke fear  for people to vote for you days before the election. Now, mind you, her riots statements, and the media headlines, makes it appear like something Dick Cheney or Rudy Gullianni would say, but first you have to understand Royal. She's honest, and she's blunt, she believes, and there's likely, to be riots if there's a Sarko victory- she felt that saying it outright was something that could be advantageous to her. A Cheney or Rudy or Boehner type of statement on terrorist attacks if a Democrat is elected in dishonest on their part, truly a desperate attempt to get votes, and simply not credible (how Republicans can claim to be the security party after ignoring 9-11 warnings and lessons and creating a unnecessary war that introduced terrorism in a country is beyond me). But I think we can all agree that it would have been better if Sego promised to make Bayrou PM if elected instead of talking about riots that day when she was at the radio station.

Furthermore, I feel that her campaign, though maverick at times (who could forget the wishes for the future site?), could use some changes. The "La Presidente" slogan isn't as nice as the "Ensemble" one. I propose, and Socialists have every right to take it, the Tim Kaine-esque motto, "Moving France Forward" instead.

Also, the ghettos and minority neighborhoods are moving at a snail's pace in voter registration. I read in the Christian Science Monitor that in one minority region, turnout was 40%- and that was a significant jump from the previous election. Barack Obama spent his adult years as a community organizer in Chicago, registering people to vote so they could move themselves out of their economic situation and have a voice in government. (In one situation, the community was complaining about a nearby landfill that was polluting the water and the kids. Unfortunately, because they didn't provide much political liablility, they were ignored in talks about the landfill's fate) I mean, look at the Christian evangelicals in the US and how that makes politicians act strange. (In the GOP presidential debate of 10 people, 3 raised their hands when asked if they didn't believe in evolution) Look, if the Socialists want more votes, they need massive volunteers in the ghettos, registering people to vote.

By the way, I would like to thank Eurotrib for providing more background on this interesting French election. As a populist, I hoped, but did not expect, a Sego victory, and I believe she did better than any other Socialist candidate could against Sarko. (Can you imagine the numbers of a Hollande-Sarko fight? Probably 42-58) I mean, why did so many of us pay attention to this election? Yes, French people want change and yes Sarko is interesting, kind of, but quite frankly, Royal excites us and provides a figure of someone who stands for progressive ideals and people-powered politics. Her speeches went a little downhill days before the election, but that didn't mean she lost sight of her populist goals. From her victory speech in the first round ("...who do not want a France dominated by the law of the fittest of the most brutal, and locked down by the power of money and the power concentrated in a few hands that are always the same") to the days when over 50% of decided voters supported her for president ("With me, never again will politics take place without you"), she give me little doubt she will stop fighting for these ideals. After all, she is the president...of Poitou-Charentes.

What should the French left be most focused on next?
. Registering the ghettos to vote 0%
. Fusing with Bayrou's Democratic Party 0%
. Replacing Francios Hallande as party leader 25%
. Providing a clear set of goals (like the Dem's 100 hours plan) for the next election 75%
. Maintaining the Désirs d'avenir site 0%
. Appealing to moderates (it worked for the Democrats) 0%

Votes: 4
Results | Other Polls
"Registering ghettos to vote" : there aren't ghettos in France in the American France, and anyway they already registered en masse for the presidential election. A "GOTV" campaign, to make sure everybody remembers that the parliamentary elections are more important than the presidential one, might work, but is not something the French parties have even done nor know how to do.

Allying with moderates, merging with Bayrou, means essentially shifting from center left to center right. I'm not voting for that party.

Anyway, in all probability, the parliamentary elections will be lost because there won't be much campaigning for them. Most of the month of may will be about Sarkozy and nothing else...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed May 9th, 2007 at 07:18:28 PM EST
Couple of specific points -- 1. Linca is right that "ghettos" is a complete misrepresentation, though one understably taken from the American media. 2. There was a massive surge in voter registration across the country, but especially among younger voters in the "quartiers," and the CSM is wrong if it wrote 40% turnout. Seine St Denis had 83% turnout. As for "GOTV," there are not the resources for it; French elections are  run with a fraction of the money spent on American elections.
by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 10:32:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the round-up. Sadly that's it for a while tho'. Absolutely nothing to be done about media bias.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 12:34:41 PM EST
Apologies if I got the ghetto-turnout info mixed up (turnout is lower, but not drastically lower), but I feel that getting out the vote is still important. I presume the 72 hour plan, where volunteers call the numbers of people presumed to be sympathetic to their party to vote, would not be as effective in a nation where 85% just turned out.
Furthermore, I would like to comment on the pres-elect. In her last column, Ivins spoke forcefully against the troop surge.
"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous...We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"
Of course, I totally oppose the riots erupting in France (not that Molly was asking us to riot), but we need to stand up against neoconservatism wherever it stands, even if they won't admit that it's their agenda (Bush always said one thing "lower taxes for middle class citizens" and did the other, promoting corporate welfare and increasing the tax burden for the rest of us). Now Sarko has said he'd respect the center but he also said he respected Royal (and during debate he continously provoked her over and over and shed crocodile tears over the prospect of an angry prez "To be president of the republic, one must be calm" and said that her partner Hollande "must not like himself" for stating he hated the rich, to which Sego should have replied, "I am your opponent").
So we all have to stand up and say "non" when they try to take away civil liberties, we all have to stand up and say "non" when they put CEOs on welfare at the expense of small businesses. But, I can assure you, French citizens, that as much as you may dislike him, most of it will be because your expectations of government is too high. Simply put, Sarko can not possibly, in no way, shape, or form, be more incompetent or uncaring as Mr. Bush.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't turn out the vote in June.
by pelcan on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 06:40:16 PM EST
Another thing : there are no such lists of people who might be sympathetic to your side. Without public party affiliations, nor primaries with participation indicating which side one feels a part of, it limits the GOTV possibilities. The only GOTV possibility is facilitating old people's vote, as was done in some part of Paris by the right wing.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat May 12th, 2007 at 06:03:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, parties can buy information of people from magazines (New Yorker-liberal, hunting mags-conservative) and can tell by the car you drive (Hummer-conservative, Toyota-liberal) whether or not you are likely to vote for a certain party. This one is correct, in fact CA guv Schwarzenegger (one of the few GOPers I respect, by the way) targeted what people buy for get-out-the-vote calling. Sorry if I was not clear enough on the lists. As for France, I do not know if you can buy consumer info from liberal publications, although a call to every union member should help, with the union's okay, that is.


by pelcan on Sat May 12th, 2007 at 10:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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