Is the West Catching on? Is It too Late? Can We Learn?
A funny thing happened in yesterday’s French elections. As expected, Francois Hollande received the largest share of the vote (nearly 29% – not quite as large a percentage as expected) and Nicolas Sarkozy finished second with just over 27%. The unexpected thing was that Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front Party, did amazingly well scoring 18% of the vote.
There will be a run-off between Hollande and Sarkozy but there is already evidence that Marine Le Pen and the National Front will have an effect on the election, probably driving Sarkozy to the right. Sarkozy has already said that he will listen to the right.
President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday reached out to the 18 per cent of voters who backed far-right candidate Marine Le Pen as German chancellor Angela Merkel calls results ‘alarming’.
“We must respect the voters’ will, it is our duty to listen,” Sarkozy told journalists. “There was this crisis vote that doubled from one election to another, an answer must be given to this crisis vote.”
Le Pen’s score Sunday was nearly double the 10.4 percent her father Jean-Marie took as the National Front (FN) candidate in the 2007 first round.
Sarkozy also went on the offensive with a challenge to Hollande, who won the first round with 28.63 percent to 27.08 percent for Sarkozy, not to refuse his proposal for three televised debates before the May 6 second round.
At her press conference on Sunday night. Le Pen burst into a rendition of La Marseillaise in front of delirious supporters waving the national flag.
“Whatever happens over the next two weeks, the battle for France has only just begun,” she said.
“We have exploded the monopoly of the two [main] parties of banks, finance, of multinationals, of resignation and abandonment, and carried higher than ever before the hopes of national ideas.
“Faced with an incumbent president at the head of a considerably weakened party, we are the only opposition to the ultra-liberal, lax and libertarian Left.”
Although it failed to take her into the second round, Miss Le Pen’s success will boost her influence on the French political scene, and is likely to hand her party seats in parliament later in the year. It could affect relations with minorities in France and in other European countries after a campaign based on rhetoric against immigrants, Islam and the European Union.
While most American conservatives would not agree with Mdme. Le Pen’s fiscal policies, there are many similarities between the National Front and the Tea Party. Members of the National Front are battling major political parties, which represent the status quo, the elites and political correctness. Like members of the Tea Party, Mdme. Le Pen’s followers love their country and put the good of France above all else. They are concerned about losing their national identity through the unregulated flow of immigrants.
Like the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, the National Front and Marine Le Pen are not intimidated by the politically correct. Like Palin and the Tea Party, the National Front is constantly attacted by the national and international media as far-right, extremist and racist. Just as Sarah Palin was the only one willing to talk about “death panles,” Marine Le Pen has the courage to say what no one else will on problems facing France, parfticularly Islam.
The National Front is in a stronger position than the Tea Party because it is working within a parliamentary structure rather than our two-party system. Hopefully, Marine Le Pen’s success will encourage right of center parties in other countries like Great Britain, where the major parties are no more representative of the ordinary people than the Democrats and Republicans and political correctness and multi-national interests trump the common people and the country’s interest.
Just as the National Front is forcing Sarkozy to the right, U.S. conservatives must work to force Mitt Romney and the GOP leadership to the right. It won’t be easy.
Two women on a mission to save the countries that they love.