Emmanuel Macron

France has completed voting in the first round, where an inordinate number of presidential candidates vied for the privilege of proceeding to the next round of voting. The two survivors are extreme right-winger Marine Le Pen and fulcrum-sitter Emmanuel Macron, who bested Le Pen by 2.5 points. They will meet in a decisive second-round shootout on May 7.

Marine Le Pen heads the National Front Party, which was established by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1957. What distinguishes the Le Pens and their party is the unbearable stench of racism, anti-Semitism and jingoism. When, decades ago, I began reading the hateful drivel emanating from the mouth of the elder Le Pen, it was shocking and so out of place in a post-Nazi Europe. Now comes the daughter with even more outrageous rhetoric – and, you know what? – it ain’t so shockin’ no more!

Emmanuel Macron, smoothly playing it down the middle, and sans party affiliation of any sort, surprised everyone by beating the whole field. Although a political neophyte, and not yet quite forty, he has been astute enough to tailor his message to the disaffected from both ends, as well as non-aligned youth. Hardly noticed by the blasé French is the fact that Macron is married to his high school teacher, almost a quarter-century his senior.

The sure-money says that Emmanuel Macron will be the next occupant of Elysée Palace. Although Marine Le Pen has been able to flourish somewhat in the acrid band of politics that currently circles the globe, the general consensus is that her right-wing support is stuck at 40 or below. On the other hand, first-round losing contestants already have begun to kiss Macron’s ring.

CNN analyst David Gergen compares Le Pen with Donald Trump, and Macron with Barack Obama. Supporting that thought, Trump openly favors Le Pen, while it is reported that Obama has made a supportive telephone call to Macron.

There is another Franco-American similarity: Vladimir Putin and the Russians! Despite overt-covert Russian cyber-meddling in U.S. and French election affairs, neither Le Pen nor the Trumpsters have forgone the opportunity to trip on down that, “Yellow Brick Road” that leads to the Kremlin’s counting house. Now, Marine, unabashedly seems to have gone for out-and-out, Putin-approved loans from Russian banks. The Trupsters, on the other hand, have been a bit more sneaky – and considerably more elaborate in their dealings with the Russians. However, as to details, we will have to wait for the Congress or the investigators to complete their laborious tasks of reluctant tooth-extraction.

Le Pen has vowed to push for a “Frexit” referendum. She also has promised to deport everyone on the terrorism watch list. She has not said so, but it is certain that a wall surrounding France would suit her just fine. Macron seems to have an antidote for most of the venom spewing from Le Pen’s lips. He applies it with Obama-like intelligence and oratory.

It may be a bit anticipatory, dear France, but without an electoral college to obscure the mystery, it seems quite safe to send you kudos for dodging the pernicious incoming from your extreme right flank. “Allons enfants de la patrie...!

***** ***** *****

LePen, you’ve done your worst – go home.
Macron, voila, the staff of Rome.
You’re such a good pick;
The landing must stick –
The world seeks peace under its dome!

Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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