Thursday, November 06, 2008

Reaction in France

France is reacting overwhelmingly positively to the American election, but the French political class is also doing some introspection.  The youth, children of immigrants, are saying things like "I'm going to put my picture on my CV now" [In France, one attaches a portrait to a CV].  Not all are optimistic, but, still they see the elections as a positive step.

Recent French elections have some strong parallels with Nixonian and post-Nixonian identity politics.  Sarkozy, for one, managed to send out clearly racist messages while sounding the alarm about "personal responsibility," "delinquance," etc.  It is/was classic dog-whistle politics.  Like some American administrations, though, he as been innovative in not always promoting the elite-school technocrats but rather universitaires and minorities.  His actions, like George Bush appointing Powell or Rice, show the cognitive dissonance of his public policies and personal ones.