Wednesday, May 09, 2007

SARKOZY'S VICTORY: A LESSON FOR REPUBLICANS?

Sometimes I wonder about the French. Are they as "anti-US" as they are portrayed in the western (especially French and US) media? Apparently not. The people of France have elected Nicolas Sarkozy, a child of a Hungarian immigrant. He has been labeled "l'Americain" and "le copain de George W. Bush" by his Socialist opponents. His message was embraced by the French voters, though it was pro-US, overall. Even his disagreements with US policy are of a constructive nature.



There is a French legislative election coming up, which will determine how much in accord they will be with his policies. His election is being well-received in the US, and the UK. Surprisingly, this gives him political capital at home in France. The French may think they gave the Socialists enough of a "slap" by electing Sarkozy to elect a leftist legislature. As I said, I wonder about the French.



There are many aspects of Sarkozy's victory that resonate to US conservatives. He is at least as revolutionary in France as Reagan was in the US in 1980. The change from a half-century of leftist influence, even over his own party, is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich taking back the US House in '95. He is also friends with Rudy Giuliani, which brings up his impact on current US politics.



Salon. com has an interesting piece comparing Sarkozy to Rudy, titled IT'S SARKOZY TIME! It was written between the primary and runoff elections. For those who don't know, "It's Giuliani time" was supposedly yelled by NYPD officers in the assault on Abner Louima. Title notwithstanding, there is some good information there.




The tough-guy stance, the insensitive and outrageous pronouncements, the antagonizing of the underclass and the self-cast "man of action" persona -- how not to think of Rudy? Many of the problems faced by France today -- persistent unemployment, rising crime, a slowed economy -- reared their heads in New York before Giuliani was voted in.

...The Sarkozy/Giuliani parallel is one I am sure Sarkozy would relish, since Giuliani is as much known in France for his "travail admirable" in ridding New York of crime as for his handling of Sept. 11.

...An avowed Americanophile, Sarkozy paid Giuliani an informal yet well-publicized visit in the summer of 2002, right at the beginning of his first tenure as minister of the interior. Although no one knows what they talked about... many of his techniques as interior minister bear an uncanny similarity to those used by Giuliani as mayor.


I'm tempted to see this as a preview of a Rudy-Hillary race in the US, but that is only a dimly possible scenario at this point. The NY POST weighed in with WEASELS NO MORE?



... guess who won?


Civilization.



Nicolas Sarkozy's 53 percent to 47 percent victory over Socialist Ségolène Royal marked a sharp departure from France's Gaullist past. The shift could put that nation back in the international game - this time, on the right side.



Sunday's big losers?



Islamists, freeloaders, troublemakers and those whose "vision" doesn't go beyond blaming President Bush for all the world's woes. (The Post forgot the Socialists - Leav)


Sarko's plan to deal with these problems embraces distinctively conservative American themes: He wants to create jobs for immigrants - by trimming government, lowering taxes, cutting regulation and making markets freer.

He says, rightly, that France's 35-hour work week has devastated the economy - producing a nation of slouchers.

France won't instantly become America's best ami. Upcoming parliamentary elections will shape much of its short-term agenda. And Sarko himself may be at odds with America in several areas, such as his tendency toward protectionism and his views on global warming.

But France has made a turn; it's a start


This is another reason that I wonder about the French. When polls show the US, under George W. Bush is at our lowest point of popularity worldwide, How could France, of all nations, elect a professed fan of America, Rudy, and GWB. Maybe they're sending a message that they will do the opposite of whatever we do, in the French tradition. Amir Taheri has an interesting piece about Sarkozy, which the NY POST titled IN FRANCE, DUBYA WON AGAIN:



Sarkozy collected more votes than any other politician elected president of the French republic and captured a number of cities and regions that had voted on the left for the past 60 years.

Efforts by the left to portray Sarkozy as a "Bushiste" started last September when the candidate visited Washington for a 40-minute tete-à-tete with President Bush. Pictures of their handshake were distributed throughout France by a group calling itself Tout Sauf Sarkozy ("Anyone But Sarkozy").


Sarkozy gave his foes more ammunition when, after meeting Bush, he spoke of France's "arrogance" during the 2002 debate on the liberation of Iraq.



At times, the left gave the impression that the election was more of a referendum on relations with America than on France's future. Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal attracted a string of anti-American figures from across Europe, starting with Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, who spoke of his dream of a Socialist axis between Paris and Madrid.



By January, Sarkozy was coming under strong pressure from his friends and advisers to distance himself from America and Bush. He refused. Instead, in his only major speech on foreign policy, he insisted that repairing relations with Washington, wrecked by outgoing President Jacque Chirac and Premier Dominique de Villepin, would be a priority of a Sarkozy administration.



This resonates with me as a lesson for the Republican party, here in the US, especially the "anyone but Sarkozy (Bush) " part. Democrats push the idea that we are more unpopular in "the world" than ever, with France as the leading example. As Ralph Peters opines in A VOTE FOR CHANGE:


...[I]t's vital to note that French Socialists vilified Sarkozy for his hard line on satellite-slum lawlessness, but he was the only candidate who offered serious proposals to educate and employ brown- and black-skinned residents of France.



Sarkozy believes in affirmative action - but without the baggage of political correctness. Little Nic has a genuine social conscience. He just doesn't believe that empty words and narcotic welfare programs are more humane than opportunity and a paycheck.



On foreign policy, Sarkozy will be a friend of Israel, rejecting the anti-Semitism and pro-Arab idiocy of recent French administrations. (I wouldn't want to be that French diplomat who dismissed Israel as a "sh---y little country.")



The president-elect's even willing to take a fresh approach to Africa, where French economic and military imperialism never ceased after colonies gained a phony independence (Paris no longer paid the bills, but still collected the profits).



According to Sarko, the French military's "job is not to stabilize regimes [or] back leaders solely because they might be pro-French." To the foreign-policy Ancien Regime, this is Jacobinism - they can hear the carts rumbling toward the Place de la Concorde.




Monsieur le president-to-be is even honest about the destructive effect French monkey business has had on Ivory Coast, once the jewel of West Africa and now the country where "we run the risk of having bad relations with everyone" with nothing achieved.




He's also willing to confront Russia's Putin regime with its misdeeds.



Sarkozy could turn out to be the most revolutionary leader on the other side of the Atlantic since Margaret Thatcher. Time will tell. But at least we'll have a French leader whose first instinct isn't to lecture us about how stupid we are.



If France and America can work together constructively on foreign policy and security matters, it will be a great thing for Western civilization.



And I'm personally grateful to Nicolas Sarkozy and the voters who elected him: I can finally go back to Paris - without feeling that I'm subsidizing an enemy every time I pay a restaurant bill.



Ralph Peters' wife insists, against all contrary evidence, that he's a secret Francophile.


Peters has some stinging insights about Sarkozy, and French society.


Pres. Sarkozy triumphed over an official Socialist candidate, instead of the "stealth" Socialists that we face here in the US. Republicans should take a page from Sarkozy's playbook. We cannot be ruled by threats of "protests" from vocal "minorities," especially when they advocate more of the same policies that put them in the situation that they are "protesting."



PS: Ya gotta love that France catches on to this idea at this point in time. Is it the "Reagan revolution" in a time warp, or does it really portend a profound change in the world's moral compass? Has GW Bush's "folly" paid off, in the long run? What else could a French Socialist think? Does this benefit Rudy, or Republicans in general? Time will tell.


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