The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
French Socialists Split on Tough Euro Treaty

Things sure do look different once you’re in power. Having campaigned against the EU fiscal pact negotiated by President Sarkozy, François Hollande now appears to have made a U-turn and is trying to convince the skeptics in his party to back the treaty’s ratification.

Hollande, a protégé of Jacques Delors, one of the fathers of the single currency, doesn’t want to be seen as the European leader who killed the euro. But he has painted himself into a corner. He can get a majority for the treaty by relying on votes from the opposition UMP party to pass the treaty, but breaking with his own party on an issue of this importance this early in his term would be damaging.

This is the problem with campaign rhetoric crafted solely to win elections. As we wrote on the eve of Hollande’s resounding victory in the first round this past June:

The problem is that if the Socialists do win the expected majority of seats in Sunday’s runoff round of elections, the president will be under immense pressure to deliver on his many campaign promises. Without a majority, Hollande could simply shrug and blame the opposition for impeding his desired social agenda. With a majority, he has to govern, and given his platform and the views of his supporters, that isn’t going to be easy.

Governing is hard. Talk is cheap. That’s something American voters should also take to heart as our own two pandering parties promise us the sun and the moon and the stars –with a few tax cuts thrown in — during the campaign season. A child could see that Hollande was lying through his teeth during the French electoral campaign; that same child would have plenty to look at in America today.

Published on October 4, 2012 7:11 pm