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Sarkozy Squeezed, France Turns Inward

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s bad month has just gotten a bit worse. He was already facing an attack from the left, in the form of Hollande’s attacks on big finance and German influence in French politics. Now, he is getting hit from the other side as well. Marine Le Pen, the French Right’s alternative to Sarkozy, pummeled the President over the weekend for pandering to French anti-immigration sentiment but failing to deliver the goods (translated from the French):

Nicolas Sarkozy promised us he would pull out the sword. Instead, he showed us a ridiculous plastic dagger, the kind little boys who think they are super-heroes run around with. Sarkozy has used immigration as an electoral theme. He is wrong—immigration is not a campaign theme, but a matter of national necessity. I want to defend our culture, our civilization, our identity.

Hollande is currently leading in French polls, with 31 percent of the potential vote (to Sarkozy’s 24.5 percent), but Le Pen’s anti-immigration message seems to be resonating with a significant portion of French voters (she is netting 19.5 percent).

Anti-immigration feeling is nothing new in France. Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, came in second in the first round of the 2002 French presidential election, shocking polite society, which hadn’t expected such a large swath of the French populace to identify with Le Pen’s rabid nationalism. What is news, however, is the way the President is being squeezed: between a Left that is promising retrenchment from a Germanic EU rescue plan, and a Right that is winning more converts by appealing to French nationalism.

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  • Kris

    It would be helpful to point out that Marine Le Pen’s Front National is economically populist (protectionist, euroskeptic, …).

  • Corlyss

    Go Marine!!!! Stick it to those Eurocrats.

  • JCP Brown

    Sarkozy likes a good fight, he thrives on nail-biting, dramatic scenarios, like come-from-behind wins. He has hardly even gotten started yet. Now that he’s jumped in the fray, we’ll see the mettle of his principal opponents.

  • Luke Lea

    “pandering to French anti-immigration sentiment”

    Why is it pandering? Isn’t immigration a legitimate issue? Whether in France or in any other Westerncountry. To imply otherwise is “slandering.”

    We need a free and open debate on this important issue. Personally I think an immigration slow-down or time-out would be good policy, if only to give us an opportunity to assimilate and integrate the 40 million foreign-born residents we already have.

  • Corlyss


    “Pandering” is publicintellectualspeak for “responding to voters concerns.”

  • Jim.

    Chances are in 50 years there will be two kinds of European countries — those who have implemented some degree of Sharia law, and those who have had some kind of Nationalist government.

    I don’t see much hope for today’s Liberal culture. It’s just too sterile.

  • Pat

    I left the US in 2001 to live in Asia. Every time I return to America, I see the USA getting worse. I am angry, shocked, surprised, saddened, disappointed, and disgusted by the changes I see.

    When I leave from a sparkling new modern Asian airport like Hong Kong, Seoul, or Shanghai and land at a run down American airport like LAX that has faded signs, broken water fountains, and a decor that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1984, I feel like I have arrived in a 3rd world country.

    I see Americans getting fatter.

    I see more laws in the USA that outlaw everything from baggy pants to sex tourism to artificial turf to feeding the homeless to banning fast food restaurants.

    I see the end of freedom in the US. Americans can now be added to no fly lists. The US Constitution has been overruled by the Patriot Act that has legalized wiretaps without a warrant and allows the government to deport and strip any American of his or her citizenship. Does that sound American to you?

    The prison at Guantanamo has been opened to detain and torture suspected terrorists indefinitely without trial.

    The US now has a secret panel “kill list” of Americans who are targeted to be assassinated without a trial.

    President Obama recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act that allows the indefinite detention of any American or foreigner accused of terrorism without trial by the US military on US or foreign soil.

    I see a higher unemployment rate and more welfare. I see jobs have been offshored to cheaper countries, more jobs lost to technology, and the US flooded with illegal immigrants that take American jobs, don’t pay taxes, and drain government resources.

    I see indebted Americans who bought more than they could afford and a broke US government that has lowered taxes, but increased spending on unnecessary wars.

    Looking at the history of Rome, Nazi Germany, and the United States, I see some disturbing parallels:

    1. While becoming a superpower, Rome abandoned the very values with which it had won its supremacy.

    2. Roman rulers used “self-defense” pretexts to invade other countries, with hawks criticizing doves for not being patriotic.

    3. War benefited the Roman elite before the masses.

    4. Wars were sold as about liberty and justice defeating tyranny.

    5. The aggressor nation stated conditions to avoid war that are impossible for the opponent to comply with.

    6. Powerful Romans hated to make concessions. They would have rather fought to the death instead of giving in to the the demands of citizens. The elite felt that they earned it, even though they used corruption to amass their wealth.

    7. Romans became weak and lazy because the masses were given free bread and circuses.

    8. The people seen as “barbarians” gradually wore down the empire, causing it to spend itself into bankruptcy.

    In Nazi Germany, the Reichstag burned in 1933. In the USA, the World Trade center was attacked in 2001.

    Nazi Germany passed the Enabling Act that gave Hitler dictatorial powers. The US now has the Patriot Act.

    Nazi Germany opened Jewish concentration camps. The US has opened the Guantanamo Bay detention camps.

    Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland. The US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Americans should not just be concerned by the recent changes in the US, they should be outraged. We need to get our country back.

    I suggest that we start moving the US in a better direction by doing the following:

    1. Americans would be more healthier and better looking if they just started eating
    less and exercising more.

    2. The US really needs to end the very scary and obvious movement that is banning freedom, increasing nanny state laws, and expanding the creation of a military socialist dictatorship. Even if politicians says they won’t use unconstitutional laws on the books now, doesn’t mean that later officials won’t. Americans that stay silent while illegal laws are enacted should not depend entirely on the Supreme Court to protect their rights because courts once protected slavery, segregation, and concentration camps as well. The time to protest unconstitutional laws is before they are enacted. Americans cannot naively believe a dictator like Hitler or Stalin will never seize power in the US.

    If America has no freedom, criticizing countries like China or North Korea is hypocritical.

    Everyone opposes terrorism, but if you want to prevent terrorism, give suspected terrorists a trial, improve airline security, and don’t give out visas easily. Terrorism should not be an excuse to declare war against Americans. Not only are many of the growing flood of regulations wrong, they are also unnecessary. One only needs to look at the pro-democracy protests in the Middle East to see Arabs prefer following a democratic model instead of Osama bin Laden terrorism.

    3. Americans should call for a much smaller government with less welfare, a greatly reduced military budget, a tax hike on the richest, higher visa fees for foreigners, increasing sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco, reducing the wages of government workers, ending government farm and airline subsidies, and eliminating less important programs like Amtrak, PBS, and the National Endowment for the Arts. We should stop extending unemployment benefits and require unemployed Americans to take jobs in farming, meatpacking plants, construction, landscaping, and hotels. Business people should not be punished while lazy people are encouraged to depend on government welfare. Welfare makes people lazy and no country would be foolish enough to attack the US even with a smaller military. We need to get the American house in order before we try to control the world.

    4. Americans need to start moving overseas to teach English and export US products. Whining about jobs being outsourced because foreign workers are willing to work cheaper is not very practical. Americans would be shocked how poor product quality and shopping selection is in 3rd world countries compared to the US. Would you rather have an American car or a Chinese one?

    5. One of the few areas the US government needs to increase spending is enforcing immigration laws and protecting the border from illegal immigrants. Limited legal immigration is not bad, but allowing illegal immigrants to live in the US encourages disrespect for the law. Illegal immigrants should not be allowed to have driver licenses, pay in-state tuition, or receive government benefits. The lives of illegals should not be made easier or be rewarded for breaking the law. Illegals should be deported and employers should be required to use E-Verify. If 13 million Americans are out of work, 12 million illegal immigrants should not be taking up the jobs.

    6. Americans need to start living within their means and stop taking on credit card debt, auto
    loans, mortgages, and student loans. What you want and what you need are two different things.

    7. Americans should vote for any presidential candidate other than Obama. Obama is a pessimistic pro-government, anti-business, anti-freedom, pro-illegal immigration, and pro-war politician who is continuing most of the worst policies of George W. Bush that will bankrupt the US without improving much at all.,8599,1946990,00.html

    8. Despite the very real problems facing the US, Americans also need to remain confident. The USA is by far the richest and most powerful country in the world. Who invented the assembly line, telephones, movies, light bulbs, airplanes, air conditioning, elevators, skyscrapers, television, the atomic bomb, the pill, calculators, microwaves, lasers, the Internet, mobile phones, the space shuttle, and landed on the moon? What country wins the most medals at the Olympics despite having only 5% of the world population? If the United States is dying, why do so many people want to immigrate there?

    While I must admit that I once did not oppose some of the policies like the Iraq war, less banking regulation, and tax cuts that lead to part of our current troubles, I now fear that more terrorism laws, bigger government, coddling illegal immigrants, and increased debt are not the solutions to our problems. I was quiet once about concerns I saw in the past and I regret it. Now I think people should not keep silent while watching a potential train wreck.

    The problems facing the USA require urgent action. I love the United States and I do not want the strongest, richest, and most free country in the world to fall. Talk about the changes happening to the US with your friends and family, vote, donate to the ACLU, contact the media, and write to your elected officials. Thousands of Americans did not die fighting for freedom and democracy in wars to have liberty denied in the USA. Do not let their sacrifice go to waste.

    America won’t be a beacon to the world if freedom is banned and the US goes bankrupt. Stand up, fight for your rights and values, and protect our country now!

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    The best government is that which governs least.

    Be the change you wish to see.

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