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the man. I did not vote for Sarkozy either. I was one of those observers (Bernard, Migeru also coming to mind) who was deeply skeptical of Candidate Hollande, especially once he had named Manuel Valls to head up his campaign. The writing was on the wall then.

Some called him the French Zapatero, after the social democrat leader of Spain who committed political suicide by pushing through Merkozy's austerity pact. I think this is being too charitable to François Hollande. After all, Zapatero's negotiating position was very weak within Europe, this was before the ECB was doing its job as lender of last resort, Spanish long-term yields were in the 6/7% range.

François Hollande did not have that weak position, in fact, France probably has the strongest negotiating position in Europe bar Germany. It is a testament to his poor statesmanship that he made such a glaring error as to accede to the Austerity pact after having promised to renegotiate it.

I never thought I would live to regret President Sarkozy, but I do.

by John Redmond (Ladybeaterz@NolesAD.com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2016 at 09:22:41 AM EST
"I never thought I would live to regret President Sarkozy, but I do. "

Should this not read President Hollande?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 17th, 2016 at 04:10:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant more like I miss Sarkozy.

He was a better president than Hollande.

by John Redmond (Ladybeaterz@NolesAD.com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2016 at 05:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the goal for Hollande was to destroy PS then he has done the best job he could. I had a sick feeling about him during the election. I doubt that political suicide was Holande's intention for PS, however. It just shows the extreme dangers of letting elite insiders specializing in political machinations within a party become the presidential candidate. Wish I could recommend a way to prevent this.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2016 at 02:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am indeed on record for having called Hollande the French Zapatero as soon as August 2012, two years before Valls became Prime Minister and when recently elected Hollande had pretty much surrendered to Merkel-Schäuble's Austerity Pact for the whole Eurozone. I was already fearing that turn during the presidential election campaign. I just refrained from using the "Vichy socialists" expression, à la Steve Gilliard - too close to Godwin, and I'm not an historian.

And yes, I agree that Hollande had a much, much stronger negotiating position than Zapatero or Papandreou ever had: he just chose not to fight, or rather, to roll over after merely putting a token fight. During all his political career, he's ruled through endlessly negotiating compromises; this is what allowed him to raise at the top of the PS and to secure the PS nomination for running against Sarkozy. He's genuinely convinced that, by appeasing the Medef and running orthodox fiscal & budgetary policies, then the Confidence Fairy will show up, unemployment will abate and growth will restart just in time to save his rear end next year.

Unlike you however, I don't harbor any regret for Sarkozy's years: his term has marked a new low in terms of social regression, mendacity, cronyism, using the state institutions to his own benefit and sheer corruption, even making Chirac look good (quite an achievement). Not to mention starting yet another war in Lybia with all the consequences we know, even if those paying the heavier price are mostly dark and poor (thus beneath Sarko's notice).

by Bernard on Sat Jun 18th, 2016 at 02:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As you know, here in France, that goes hand in hand with copinage, corruption and the like. And yes, he made us regret Chirac, who was more moderate in tone (though not necessarily on policy), but Chirac was a champion when it came to politicam corruption.

But objectively, Sarko was a far better president than Hollande where it counts today - on the European stage. When the crisis came, he did not wait for Berlin's approval of (admittedly too modest) stimulus measures. François Hollande has proven, as MLP actually said to Mme Merkel's face, the best governor general of the French province that Berlin could ever hope for.

Hollande is a miserable failure, not just in his destruction of the center-left as a credible governing alternative to the right, but as a human being as well.

by John Redmond (Ladybeaterz@NolesAD.com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2016 at 09:07:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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