by Ramin Mazaheri
Unlike most Western countries, French politicians do not really do personal attacks. That sounds surprising, but they don’t even criticize each other’s programs with virulence.
It’s “inelegant” or “bad form.” But perhaps this is why the French can debate politics over a four-hour Sunday meal?
Ultimately, this is poseur nonsense that has nothing do with the brutally harsh and immediate reality of political platforms and decisions.
That’s why tonight’s debate between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron was such a surprise: This was, by French standards, total chaos. From start to finish there were constant interruptions, low blows, accusations of defamation and two presenters who were basically mute in shock and horror.
The New York Times called it “vicious” and I actually agree with them for a change. I assumed that the French debate would remain…French. But this was American-style politics.
Well…not that bad. Macron called Le Pen a “parasite” and Le Pen suggested Macron had offshore bank accounts, but nobody repeatedly called the other “crooked” (i.e. corrupt) or said the other should be in jail.
The problem is that this not at all what Le Pen needed to reverse an 18% difference in the polls 4 days before the vote (oof, the situation has really become that bad!).
Le Pen took the bait: she proved that she doesn’t have sufficient style to be president of the French.
That’s fatal, because it can be enough to win over here: In 2012 Francois Hollande famously hypnotized France into believing he was presidential through the rhetorical use of the “anaphora”. I don’t even have to translate it for you to grasp what it is:
« Moi, président de la République, je ne serai pas le chef de la majorité, je ne recevrai pas les parlementaires de la majorité à l’Élysée. Moi, président de la République, je ne traiterai pas mon Premier ministre de collaborateur. Moi, président de la République, je… »
He said that phrase 15 times in a row, lasting 3 consecutive minutes.
That’s when the French said to themselves about “Mr. Normal”: “This guy sounds like he can be president.” Hey – advertising works! I repeat: advertising works!
Hollande was dead serious during those 3 minutes; Le Pen always seemed to be playing to the gallery. She repeatedly checked the reaction of the audience – just two presenters – to see if her latest joke or quip scored with them.
For example, Le Pen made a great witticism to the effect that that she would earmark her tax cuts for the average French person…to keep them out of Macron’s bank account. Even Macron smiled and had to restrain a laugh.
And the immediate gratification of that approval was enough to make Le Pen beam…and totally forget that what she said was deadly serious in its societal consequences.
Is Le Pen a committed, caring Castro or another needy actor posing as a politician? Why should she care for a pat on the head from Jean-Marie, I mean Emmanuel? Are there both daddy and mommy issues in this election, with 39-year old Macron and his 64-year old wife?
Regardless, by the end of the debate Macron probably had many agreeing with him that it was not appropriate to joke about the state of France.
Le Pen is great at playing the comedic clown, but she failed to show the sad, dramatic side of her anti-austerity arguments.
She lacked presidential gravitas, and this is a candidate who was disparaged as a rabid racist incapable of running a country. That played great for Trump in America but France is not America – there is no historical sympathy for the “frontier loon” personality here.
Trump was also smart enough to settle down for their 3 debates.
Le Pen felt she won, even though she lost
Online polls immediately afterward gave Macron the victory by more than a 2 to 1 margin.
But in all honesty, Le Pen probably viewed the debate as a victory before it even started – just getting there was good enough for her. The National Front has been legitimized and a score of just 39% is more than double her father’s 18% in 2002.
The National Front will probably actually win some power in France – they currently hold just 0.4% of all elected offices. You can say all you want about their outsized cultural power, but they truly cannot be blamed for any problems caused by poor governance.
About 20 minutes from the end it seemed like Le Pen gave up – she started making non-stop jokes and not taking things seriously. Her tone changed, and she even seemed to admit that she wasn’t going to win on May 7. She couldn’t even keep her mouth shut during Macron’s closing remarks, which made her final impression definitely unpresidential.
However, Le Pen really tried to be serious in the first 30 minutes, but she tried in a way that simply doesn’t play to French expectations, and they are the ones voting.
What was she guilty of trying to do? Simply to call out Macron on…his record in office. So, in an important way Le Pen’s plan of attack was handicapped from the beginning because, as I wrote, the French don’t really do attacks on one’s record. Macron repeatedly interrupted her to stop talking about the past and to focus on the future, and the moderators let it slide.
Frankly, this made Macron look not just rude and defensive but left him open to charges of being latently sexist – would have barged in on her talking points so often if he was debating a man? He did not come off well in the first half hour, when Le Pen was the most focused.
Regarding the content of the debate: I’ve said it before and I’ll write it again – if your antenna is tuned for ideas which are anti-capitalist, pro-democracy, pro-workers’ rights, anti-globalization, pro-sovereignty – Le Pen was the candidate that you preferred in the debate.
She had plenty of good facts, lines and accusations, but I’m not going to get into them because it’s 3:30 am here and I’m still in the office. The fact is, when you have just a single presidential debate held only 4 days before the vote…we all already know what their ideas are.
The system was again geared up to support Macron: Le Pen needed more time to focus her attacks and the people needed more time to really consider the effects of Macron’s economic, which he only unveiled seven weeks before the first round vote. French citizens deserve more than just two weeks to really scrutinize the final two candidates….
Macron is Hillary minus the pantsuit
Macron was repeatedly condescending, patronizing and playing the role of teacher to the ignorant.
It’s jarring to see someone under 40 act like that but, more importantly, it shows how deeply ingrained is his belief in the technocratism that is the justification for EU austerity: only an enlightened Brahmin like Macron has the necessary training to lead, and it’s our fault for not learning Sanskrit.
Unfortunately for Macron, many of us know that the “social sciences” are not sciences at all: there is no thesis or objective in any social science which cannot be explained in lay terms in less than 3 minutes. If we need more than that, you’re just trying to fool us.
Macron is most effective when he plays the modern politician: Blunting your passion for life, politics and what is right with details. Boring you to death while giving the impression he really knows what he is talking about. Hillary was great at this.
The problem is that this technocratic view ignores the fact that ideology/morality/philosophy and political decisions simply cannot be separated. There is no one correct way to run an economy, or a village, or a foreign policy: it all depends on your objectives, and your objectives are governed by your ideology/morality/philosophy, whatever the hell the damned numbers are.
Macron effectively attacked Le Pen for being xenophobic – no way to defend against that truth – but his other main line was that she “has no project”. But that’s simply untrue – Frexit, euro changes, leaving NATO, etc. are hugely substantial intellectually.
What Macron was really trying to say with these attacks is that all of these things – which are supported by a huge minority/small majority in France – can never be admitted by the establishment as actually being possible.
For example: To the average mainstream scribe, Macron will sure have scored major points on Le Pen’s brand-new plan to have both a euro AND a franc – the former for international commerce and the latter for domestic commerce. This is something which her new running-mate/future prime minister Nicolas Dupont-Aignan appeared to insist on in return for his support.
It was very easy for Macron to pick this proposal apart: There are indeed many questions and holes.
But here’s the thing: What Le Pen is offering is indeed totally new, and that means that – of course – there will be questions. This is uncharted territory; there are unknowns; it is scary in certain aspects; it’s revolutionary.
That doesn’t make it bad, wrong or incapable of succeeding.
What’s important is that at the base of Macron’s attacks is: There Is No Alternative to the status quo. Macron is right to ask criticize the plan, but it does not mean that what he is offering is better.
It is not, and the French people know it.
In my work for Press TV, earlier this week I had to interview 10 people on the street on a handful of questions, and one was: “Why is France so divided on the EU?”
I heard the same answer repeatedly: “The EU has not fulfilled the promises it made.” I.e., life is worse than before the EU and the euro. This is borne out by numerous important econometrics, and it is especially true since the 2008 financial crisis which was manipulated to cannibalize the average person and their rights.
It was not surprising that the debate organizers, the state, pushed the most important issue back into the 2nd hour; the issue that has the largest ramifications both domestically and internationally – the future of Europe.
It came after 34 minutes of terrorism (and Islamophobia).
It’s hard not to leave the office tonight without dealing with the fact that a Macron victory is about 99% sure to happen.
Even though his mouth was flecked with foam half the night like some old man (expect many jokes about that), as he defended globalization, Brussels and capitalism and denied being a part of the previous government and the mainstream establishment, the French will still view him as less extremist than Le Pen.
Economically, Macron is the extremist. And, as Le Pen said, he is a “European extremist” on the subject of sovereignty.
The French will continue to say that Le Pen is too much of a racist.
Well, consider this well: Two days ago the Macron camp tweeted that the country’s only Islamophobia watchdog was “in danger” of being closed.
When the group – the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) – pressed for clarification, the Macron camp did not back down. After all, they have targeted the CCIF before.
In my work with Iran’s Press TV I have taken the time to speak with the CCIF for years: What they do is field calls and file legal challenges when women get beat up for wearing the hejab, when Muslims are fired unfairly, when Muslims are denied entry into places, when mosques are desecrated. They simply defend the rights of an oppressed minority because the French justice system repeatedly looks the other way. There is nothing extremist about any of this.
But it was Macron, not Le Pen, who has targeted this group.
This, sadly, exemplified a point I have said for months, and which gives me great personal vindication for openly supporting Le Pen despite being a true leftist communist:
All of France’s political parties are racist, full stop. Don’t believe that by voting Macron you are avoiding xenophobia. Attacking the CCIF is more, timely proof of this sad fact.
But the French are simply not seeing this in large enough numbers. A lot of that is due to the extremely heavy baggage caused by the repugnant history of the National Front and Marine L e Pen.
And the French just don’t see that capitalism is worse than racism; and that capitalism creates racism.
France – home of liberty, equality and an 18-month state of emergency – is simply in too right-wing a mood to take a chance like voters in the UK and the US. They will pick “Hollande Junior” even though Hollande was their most unpopular president ever.
But it really doesn’t help that Marine Le Pen is a terrible candidate who chose to play the clown instead of the president.
What would I have done instead? Me, president of the republic, I ….
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.
Bomb blowing up on presidential candidate Macron’s campaign. The very BIG NEWS that French and US MSM are hiding.
From Zero Hedge:
“Documents Indicate That Emmanuel Macron May Be Engaging In Tax Evasion”
From The Daily Stormer:
“Documents Implicate Macron in Offshore Holdings”
“Leaked Documents Expose Macron Secret Tax Evasion Scheme”
….But the media won’t touch Macron. They are promoting him as honest and trustworthy. Now, according to the source of the leaked documents, it can be revealed the media has been covering up for Macron.
“I’ve sent these to hundreds of French journalists and they’ve all sat on this,” said the source of the leaked documents. “Anybody even talking about this in France has been shut down.”
Full Document on Dreuz.info (in French):
“Si Emmanuel Macron détient un compte dans un paradis fiscal, le voici”
Please spread the news….
It’s a forgery from Alt-right circles and the french courts are already on the case. France is not the United States of America. This type of thing don’t fly, she’s likely to lose more support because of this latest forgery attempt.
Agreed – this type of stuff gets no traction in France. Totally different from the US.
I can’t report on it without much more verification.
Wikileaks has reviewed the documents and concluded that it would be too expensive to forge the thousands of documents comprising the 9 GB of information.
There is no way that Macron can be as poor as he says he is despite earning 3 million euros (gross) from the Rothschilds.
There has been some coverage – not enough – that according to what he claimed legally he would have had to have spent 1 SMIC (the legal MONTHLY minimum salary) EVERY DAY for 3 years.
SMIC = 1500 euros gross/1150 euros net
What happened to Julian Assange? He said back in February that he had dirt to release on Macron – we’ve never seen it.
@ Ramin Mazaheri
“What happened to Julian Assange? He said back in February that he had dirt to release on Macron – we’ve never seen it.”
Well… there’s this:
French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron targeted in a ‘massive’ computer hack – [May 5, 2017, 11:34 PM]
“Some nine gigabytes of data were posted by a user called EMLEAKS to Pastebin, a document-sharing site that allows anonymous posting. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for posting the data or if any of them were genuine [..]”
“An interior ministry official declined to comment, citing French rules which forbid any commentary liable to influence an election, and which took effect at midnight French time on Friday (2200 GMT).
Comments about the email dump began to appear on Friday evening just hours before the official ban on campaigning began. The ban is due to stay in place until the last polling stations close on Sunday at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) [..]”
No details about the contents though, but I’ll see what else I can find…
Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ’em,
Well…dadgum it! This is too late from Wikileaks!
Will people go through these leaks? Will they have the time?
Will it change anything – if whistle-blowers really had something they thought the public should know, it would have been better to release it much sooner….
@ Ramin Mazaheri:
“Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ’em,”
^ LoL! Not a fan of Hammer though, or any “urban” music for that matter. I found out about the name of that song only after I’ve already picked my username to post here. I got it instead from a line in a Tenacious D song, because I thought it was funny rather than you know… “street” yo! ;-) so, still music related I suppose…
“Well…dadgum it! This is too late from Wikileaks!”
It’s not from them, no. But they’re looking into it.
“Will people go through these leaks? Will they have the time?”
Highly unlikely. 9 Gigs of data, presumably mostly text, forget it! Not unless they put a huge army of geeks on the case. I’ve read some place that some documents go way back, so they’re not just about (or during the time of) the election campaign.
“Will it change anything – if whistle-blowers really had something they thought the public should know, it would have been better to release it much sooner….”
Yup, Wikileaks said the timing was odd and [quote] “This massive leak is too late to shift the election.”
What Wikileaks are doing right now is trying to verify the authenticity of the files, no one better for the task – we would all agree – and for the looks of it, they’ve been working through the night.
On the other hand, a few hours after the news broke, the media and some of the crooks from the ‘I’m with her’ Killary entourage were already pointing fingers at… you guessed it! Russia.
In my view, Macron was the one who behaved like a clown, a very angry one, with his eyebrows remembering Sarkozy. If he could, he would have pushed Le Pen down from her chair. Just looking at his eyes, man could see the immense hate he has against Le Pen. Le Pen, on contrary, behaved elegantly, calm and yes, she could even drop some jokes, just to temper the atmosphere in the studio. The nervousness of Macron was very obvious, many times interrupting his counterpart, then repeating the same things again and again. Well, I’m not there to vote, the French people will do that. The question is : will they want to have a change or better live in the well known bad water ?
for le pen this is just round one, she has her eyes on round 2 when Macron turns out to be the neoliberal bankers stooge we all know he is and fails with austerity extreme, the people will march willingly into the arms of le pen when shes airbrushed herself a little in the intermittent period.
Marine Le Pen yesterday had a bad strategy. She started with an assault that failed to destabilize Macro. Then she wrongly accepted the fight on the enemy’s territory .
For example: About the economy, she should have told Macron that Finance have to serve the power in place and not the contrary The political power gives the objective and the finance people have to find the way to meet the objective.
Furthermore she could have told Macron that for the last 50 years, it was people from ENA which managed France with catastrophic results.
Marine Le Pen should have focus on the essential and let Macron, the book-keeper, to his numbers.
Quoting F.Hollande in 2012, she could have stigmatize the International Finance to which France living beyond its ability has become tributary and which today forces France to recognize the new religion, the New World Order which destroy all the moral values shared by the 3 french religions : Jewish, Christianism, Islam.
These usurers coherce France to participate to their criminal wars in the Middle-East, to the destabilization of Ukraine and to entertain very bad relations with Russia.
She should have said the France’s priority was to get rid of the yoke, denounce debt and send the usurers to hell.
This revolution, if it was happening would blow-up the International finance and the New World Order which is threatening the whole humanity and that is an objective
This would have madeFrance great again but MLP just let her get involved in shopkeers quarrels.
She missed an historical opportunity.
She was mediocre like all the Frenchs today which are complaining but obeying like sheeps.
I agree Jean. She never talked about her strategy, nor did she defend herself when he attacked her. She only focused on his negatives.
Has anyone seen the movie “NO” about Chile’s referendum on Pinochet? I highly recommend it because it shows the importance of a positive political message. The pro -Pinochet group (the “yes”camp) focused on what would happen if Pinochet would leave: Breadlines, inflation, shortages, doom and gloom…The anti-Pinochet group focused people singing, having picnics and saying no to dictatorship. Many in the “no” camp wanted to talk about human rights, abuses, torture..
The leader of the advertising group however, insisted that people react more favorably to a positive message, and they won!
Positivity is what was missing from MLP’s campaign and from her debate performance. There was no upbeat, energising message. ..
And now 3 comments on her appearance. 1. Her make-up was terrible and very aging. Macron on the other hand was looking more fresh faced than usual. 2. She was touching her hair way too much. 3. What was that huge file of notes in front her? Macron had one sheet and a pen! All in all, a miss for her. Ah well, Trump messed up his first debate and still won..Fingers crossed for my French friends!!!
I watched the debate, and though had to rely on translators, LePen blew Macron away.
Also, he appeared true to form of a puppet. He was a pretty suit, vacuous, detached from the everyday issues and a traitor to French culture and values.
LePen nailed him over and over on many issues.
Hollande Junior. Mrs. Merkel. Buy or sell anything French, buy cheap and sell cheaper. Vulture capitalism and globalist anti-sovereignty.
She annihilated his policies and his personality.
She also attached him to all the present dilemmas the French face.
All he could counter with was her father’s old anti-semitism and racist speeches.
She stands clearly as a patriot, defending workers and children in search of adult moral leadership, sufficient social programs and small business policies from government to achieve growth of the economy. Border security and nationhood are not far right. They are common sense. Le Pen showed she was practical and correct on all these issues.
The meme against her is a product of Fake News. Globalists and Liberals are desperate to save Macron and control France. The entire NATO, anti-Russia sanctions die if she could win.
We need to pray like we did for Trump to defeat Clinton.
It really does matter.
By pray I presume you mean hit the phones/ messenger to all your French acquaintances?
photos of Macron , arms up in the air….saying look at me, look at me, I am the celebrity chef, the little boy seeking approval…then see a photo of Le Pen, arms outstretched towards the people saying I embrace you the French people with maternal affection, embrace me….this is how it can work……..then these people might support her because
“Young Europeans are sick of the status quo in Europe. And they’re ready to take to the streets to bring about change, according to a recent survey.
Around 580,000 respondents in 35 countries were asked the question: Would you actively participate in large-scale uprising against the generation in power if it happened in the next days or months? More than half of 18- to 34-year-olds said yes.”
c 66% of young peoples in France, Spain, Italy,Greece would join mass uprisings against the establishment…….c 33% of other european countries surveyed……………
If Marine LePen doesn’t win the Presidential Election, that’s not necessarily — or even likely — a matter of rigging, but a recognition by the majority population in France that (especially in this day and age) any “messing” with NATO, IMF, and the EU by the elected government will call for consequences; in other words less imperialist privilege for France as a country, possibly a total strangulation of her economy in case the Zionazis really would like to “make a statement”.
And, conversely, if she does win then, given her very clear perceptions, what will she tell the fascist entities of NATO, the EU, and the IMF?
Bad journalism by me: Why did I even include a snap poll after the debate in my report and upcoming op-ed?
That 2-to-1 snap poll was sponsored by BFM, France’s most pro-business channel. The numbers regarding how much more coverage they gave to Macron than any other candidate show enormous bias.
Using a snap poll like that really was a stupid trap to fall into. I resisted in Round 1 but was stupid to include it this time.
A much more credible later post-debate poll: 42% for Macron, 26% for Le Pen.
A whopping 31% saying neither was convincing.
There is huge, huge dissatisfaction here. Abstention here is almost always lower in the 2nd round, but this time could be different. However, Le Pen is still very far behind:
Post debate poll: 61-39 Macron.
Essentially unchanged. Just 1 debate 4 days before the election? Yeah, that’s a bad system. People have already made up their minds.
I watched the debate and I concur 100%. Great analysis, Le Pen constant smiling and bad jokes made her look unpresidential. She lost a lot of support last night.
”What’s important is that at the base of Macron’s attacks is: There Is No Alternative to the status quo. Macron is right to criticize the plan, but it does not mean that what he is offering is better.”
Yes, here we go again – TINA – the great whore of political economy. Actually, there are always alternatives, it’s just that the powers-that-be don’t find them particularly attractive. In the event of Macaroon’s election the failing neoliberal project will flounder on, and things – well things will only get worse. A failing system, especially one which thinks it is God-given and that there are ‘no alternatives’ is bound to disintegrate. This is, whatever the liberal elites think and want, an historical leitmotif and internal to the system, as ancien regime after ancien regime have met their eventual nemesis.
Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Prime Minister next month will surely shake things up won’t it?
I just looked at some photos, didn’t listen to the substance of the debate.
To me it looked like Le Pen was not dressed or made up or her hair done right for a debate—not presidential in presentation.
Not that she should ape Mme Carla Bruni Sarkozy or pretend to be something she is not, but to me she looked a bit frowzy, not well groomed.
Mrs. Thatcher had a makeover to present herself better to the public; perhaps Le Pen could also use one. In fact, a makeover might also affect her self-perception somewhat.
Even some Frenchwomen might be able to use a makeover.
But I am not French, so of course I cannot judge!
Neither Le pen or micron are appealing, so like with the trump vs clinton false contest, the choice really centres around which one can be effectively sabotaged once positioned and be essentially neutralised.
As in Argentina, there is a 20 to 30 pct of the population which makes decissions, not on analysis or convictions but on their credit card and other debt and how a change may affect their payment ability. Their lives are governed by fear and anxiety. It serves candidates such as Macri and Macron to win
Cheers from southern France
“After accusing the Front National (FN) candidate of ‘defamation’ on live television on Wednesday night, Mr Macron, 39, filed a complaint with the state prosecutor about the rumours, claiming that an online ‘fake news’ campaign had been mounted to influence voting.
He said Miss Le Pen was behind the rumours, telling French radio: ‘She has an internet army mobilising’, adding that she had spread ‘false information and lies’.
He also said some of the sites spreading the allegations were ‘linked to Russian interests’.
An aide for Mr Macron said the party would sue for defamation if the false allegations were repeated.
The dramatic twist came after 15 million viewers tuned in to a two and a half hour debate which was widely regarded as the most brutal in French political history and likened to the standoff between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
French media described ‘unprecedented brutality’ and said the showdown had ‘descended into chaos’.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4474896/Macron-sue-Le-Pen-tax-haven-allegation.html#ixzz4gCJEKJ72
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
note reference to “russian interests”……….
Obama’s Endorsement for Macron Hints at US Neocolonialism – French MP
“Thierry Mariani, The Republican Party MP, told Sputnik France that this endorsement was rather unexpected and reeks of double standards.
“The fact that a former head of a foreign state has endorsed one of the candidates is unexpected. Imagine for a second that Vladimir Putin endorsed Marine Le Pen – everyone would’ve screamed bloody murder. If a head of another country – for example, (Nicolas) Maduro – was to endorse Melenchon’s candidacy, everyone would’ve screamed bloody murder. But apparently Obama’s squeaky clean so no one said a world about it,” Mariani said.”
The segment of the zionazi freakshow that controls obama/clinton also controls micron and the majority of the western zio-gay public manipulation machine. But we already knew that, obama just wants to make sure that the dittoheads know their “duty”.