By Andrew McKillop

Recent US polls give Obama’s approval rating at most and at best around 40%. Most Americans have no confidence in him, his administration and his policies. Not only Republicans and right wingers say that Obama has trashed the American ideal of being a resilient and resourceful people. Critics add up the doleful record of Obama failings. These include $16 trillion of national debt of which more than $5 trillion was added in the last 36 months, a probable real rate of adult unemployment of 16% (compared with administration claims around 8%), constant and huge budget deficits, a wilting housing market, and what the US Army and armed forces-friendly website calls the most arrogant-ever First Family where Obama’s “Butt ugly Marie-Antoinette snob wife constantly takes luxury vacations while the rest of Americans suffer an unadmitted economic depression”.

Marie-Antoinette is alive and well and operating in her home country of today’s France, in the shape of Francois Hollande’s live-in ladyfriend. She is Valerie Trierweiller ­ inevitably dubbed the Rottweiler First Lady ­ accused by both the right wing UMP and some sections of Hollande’s own Parti Socialiste of encouraging her man’s increasingly curt, flippant and dismissive attitude to France and the real problems of the French.

Opinion polls in France would make Obama shrink further into his cave. Few polls show Hollande scoring even 25% approval ratings. Pollsters in France don’t go back a hundred years when gauging Hollande’s dismal popularity ­ they simply say he is the most unpopular French president since polling of views on the president began in the 1950s, during the 4th Republic.

Since 1956, France has its 5th Republic. Hollande’s 4th Republic presidency is outdated and out of time.


Marie-Antoinette in fact recommended cakes and circuses as a neat way to tame the famished mob, storming the Bastille in 1789, but Hollande’s 2013 version features bombs and circuses. Hollande has rapidly gained himself the status of war president ­ as long as it concerns small, faraway attempts at projecting “French military grandeur” which do not cause too many French soldiers to get injured or die. Paying for the “quick and dirty” little wars is however already a major political issue. The opposition UMP underlines that the Mali and Central African Republic wars are costing around 7 million euros-a-day. Can a country with a massive budget deficit and huge sovereign debt load afford this? More especially since other EU countries, and the US show no interest at all in coming along for the ride ­ or paying anything but symbolic amounts to France for its “civilizing mission” war party.

To be sure, there are some if not many Op Ed writers outside France (but almost none inside the country) who still laud Hollande. John Vinocour writing for ‘Wall St Journal’ pens Hollande-friendly homilies on a regular basis, for example lauding France’s “admirable willingness to put its military at risk against al-Qaeda” and claiming that France was the only western country prepared to “take a firm line” on both Syria and Iran.

However, in a Dec 24 piece for ‘WSJ’ Vinocaur himself had to admit that 75% of French think the country is on the decline and that 83% think Hollande is either deliberately, or by flippant disinterest and incompetence, failing to do anything at all to right the economy ­ but instead bleats about “competitiveness” day and night.
Across Europe, Hollande has fewer and fewer allies and fans. President of the ECB, Mario Draghi has said that the Hollande regime’s attempts at “strengthening public finances can no longer rely on tax increases.”. But as Marie-Antoinette would have approved with a sweet smile, the people only get more taxes alongside the designer wars over the horizon. They are supposed to be thrilled! But they are not.

A lot less amusing and much more immediate, giving ever more credibility and public approval to the far right or “sovereignist” National Front of Marine Le Pen, Hollande’s PS government has launched a strange pseudo-populist campaign to fight racial discrimination while strengthening French national pride and self-identity. The direct result is already-severe, but further-rising tensions between the native French white population, and Muslim-origin French as well as Black African-origin French whose combined population – treated as a state secret ­ is probably above 8.5 million in the country’s total population of 65 million.

Discrimination is so endemic in France that youth unemployment in these two “New French” population segments is a minimum of 50% for females, and 60% for males. Marine Le Pen regularly gives the numbers on the stark non-integration of a Lost Generation ­ in fact 2 or even 3 lost generations following the start of mass immigration from former French colonies in the late 1960s. Only for ideological reasons, French presidents and governments, both the right and left keep the floodgates of mass immigration open. More jobless is apparently their received wisdom silver bullet for a flourishing economy. What they get is street crime!

Opinion polls show that at least 70% to 75% of native white French see Islam as an intolerant and anti-French religion that many say should be simply banned. The native white French also blame the “New French” for the country’s staggering loss of identity, which has “progressed” to the point that polls of university students show that 50% or more intend to quit France the moment they get their diploma. Extreme youth jobless rates hitting the New French ­ due to racial and religious discrimination ­ are also the norm for young white French, who say that France operates age discrimination with the single goal of forcing young people to take low-paid jobs creating a new subclass of working poor, who borrow an average 40 000 euros to get their diploma or degree.


Late in 2013, the “Hollande style” is now set in concrete. He is not particularly concerned about France’s simmering racial and religion tensions, or its massive youth unemployment, dislocated education system, fast declining healthcare system, and its de-industrialized uncompetitive economy living on debt. His live-in ladyfriend, officially his “compagne or egerie”, or inspirational guide, is always smiling and dressed in ultra chic designer clothes when boarding a private jet to make a visit to the latest poverty-wracked African country on the list that could or might use French armed forces to prop the local junta and protect French white expatriates sucking what they can out of the country.

The “courageous struggle against al-Qaeda” is a story line that many French now openly sneer at. Hollande’s spin doctors, always too late now spin the story of French intervention in Africa as decided on the basis of “key countries surrounded by major oil producers”. Like Chad or Cameroon.

Formerly pro-PS weeklies, like the outspoken ‘New Marianne’ now openly mock Hollande. They say his presidency to date is an “A to Z of Failure”. Anything he touches, whenever he touches it. An attempt, perhaps, to bring on revolutionary chaos and civil war?

This question is asked out loud by many journalists, today, not whispered in smoke-filled bar rooms with the smoke supplied by diesel fumes from France’s cancerous car fleet of dirty diesels, which itself are a political hot potato. Hollande’s supposed ecology political allies in parliament, the EELV party, openly derides Hollande’s pro-diesel policies, which his own “ecologists” say is the most environment-conscious fuel that exists ­ in fact a designer fuel to rival Valerie Trottweiler’s designer couture!

Hollande sails on, oblivious. A year and a half into his five-year term, you don’t have to be a mass psychologist to understand how badly Francois Hollande’s neat one-liners, during his presidential campaign, have come back to haunt him.

Hollande said he was “a normal president for normal times”, not like the overexcited, spendthrift and eccentric Nicolas Sarkozy who many French were openly scared of. Hollande ran for president calling himself a “normal guy,” and his few apologists now use that to explain why he has no authority.

Hollande’s spin doctors, who make a point of talking too much on 24/7 TV news stations, say that their boss from early on had an identikit picture of the French. They were uncomfortable with change, risk-averse, unimaginative, unpredictable when challenged, volatile, lazy, and given to rage when things go wrong. Like Sarkozy and Chirac before him, Hollande had to mollycoddle this French monster, by promising a “rupture” or clean break without in any way changing “the French way” ­ and like them, then did nothing at all to bring about this impossible change.


Last week, French PS-friendly daily ‘Le Monde’ wrote that Mr. Hollande’s current objective is “to smash the image of an all-powerful Germany outfacing a France that is ‘Europe’s sick man”.

Elysees Palace insiders quoted by ‘Le Monde’, speaking off the record, said that Germany is trying to ‘transform economic dynamism into political domination”. Hollande’s new trick is to try whipping up anti-German sentiment among the French, rather than rely on their ultra-traditional jealousy and spite against Americans and British for not backing Germany like France did, right from the start of World War II. This is progress! Hollande style.

Also interesting, Germany has coldly but politely refused any participation at all in France’s new wars, from Libya to Mali and Central African Republic ­ but the US and UK were at least on board in the Libya war which for French media “was Nicolas Sarkozy’s pet war”. In Dec 2007, Sarkozy’s honored state visitor, greeted as “my personal friend” by Sarkozy at the Elysees Palace was none other than Muammar Gaddafi.

In his latest ‘WSJ’ thinkpiece lauding Hollande, John Vinocour says that with the “French presidency’s extremely broad powers, and some nerve, Mr. Hollande could systematically open new areas of employment….to Muslims”. For any average white French person this advice can only make them laugh, or cry. Street crime, riot and maybe civil war ­ in France ­ are becoming “une banale prevision” or forecast among talking head comments on TV chat shows, in the France of Hollande, 2013.

Simply due to the downsizing of France as its economy stumbles along at zero growth and its sovereign debt rises, every day there are few or no options left. Hollande’s war and circus option, already downsized to playing Big Brother in Small Countries of Africa, and backing whatever local junta is in power and seems to serve France, promises little or nothing in the way of economic booty. Sooner or later, Hollande will have to face up tom and face down the simmering rage that brews in the concrete ghettoes around every single major city in France. His “new normal” do nothing presidential style might have scraped through in the French 4th Republic of the 1950s ­ but is far out of date, today.

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