- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Whoever Marine Le Pen really is, she suffered a crushing 30 percentage-point defeat in France’s presidential election on Sunday at the hands of a man named Emanuel Macron.

Mr. Macron was pretty much a nobody in French politics until he suddenly became somebody in the first round of the presidential election process, which showed that the body politic was in a derrière-booting mood, similar to that of American voters in the latest U.S. election that pitted a globalist in the person of Hillary Clinton against a nationalist named Donald Trump.

“The French are struggling with the inherent tension between remaining solidly French and being part of a continental government,” said American Conservative Union Executive Director Dan Schneider. “Continental government means opening their borders but in doing so they diminish their French character.”

“Today’s election shows they care more about European power than maintaining their cultural identity,” Mr. Schneider said.

Mr. Schneider’s conclusion seems inescapable. Much of the press is casting Mr. Macron as the political inheritor of America’s John Fitzgerald Kennedy of more than a half-century ago. Absurd. JFK, a  tax-cutting Democrat, was more conservative than Mr. Macron.

The message of the U.S., French and German press has been that Ms. Le Pen is a Hitlerian National Socialist and anti-Semite who wants France to do what the British electorate has already voted to do — exit the European Union.

Mr. Macron was part of the previous socialist government in France but talked a kind of socialist-free-market globalist gibberish that appealed to the always confused French soul.

Ms. Le Pen (twice married, she kept her maiden name) wasn’t much clearer about what she is or what she wants.She said, for example, she wants to nationalize the banks. For those who came in late, that’s socialist.

Mr. Macron is softer on immigration from Muslim countries than she is. There are Muslim enclaves in France where local and national French law enforcers and other French government  representatives dare not enter. Mr. Macron’s softness prevailed. So much for French cultural pride or as some see it, French world-renowned chauvinism.

President Trump appeared to favor Le Pen until he didn’t.

Had she won, his America-first! nationalism would have been strengthened. But if Ms. Le Pen turned out to be as much socialist as nationalist, it could have been embarrassing for our team, so to speak. 

Stirring music aside, the French for their part are quite good at embarrassing themselves. The French revolution of 1789 against the monarchy was a miserable, cruel, murderous failure. The American revolution was a historic success (arguably the grandest ever) for self-governance and national liberation from colonial rule.

So what’s to come away with? Ms. Le Pen doesn’t have the personality,  persuasiveness and billionaire-businessman image of Mr. Trump, the characteristics that probably could have won the French presidency had someone in that electoral scramble possessed those traits.

Now the nationalist-internationalist struggle will continue but with some minor leverage gained by the globalists across the Atlantic — and their multitudinous admirers in the press.

Hate to bring this up, but Italy’s help on the nationalist-populist, anti-elite front in December was, you may not care to remember, was offset by the opposite result in Austria.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after voters gave him and his attempt to centralize power the crooked elbow sign. But an Austrian center-left presidential aspirant bonked a rightist challenger. Where’s the anti-no borders wave that Donald Trump’s impossible victory was thought to have sent sweeping across the free world?

Still, where there’s social media, there’s hope. The British Brexit leader Nigel Farage took to Twitter as soon as the bad news from France was in. He posted that Emmanuel Macron “offers five more years of failure, power to the European Union and open borders. If Marine Le Pen sticks in there, she can win in 2022.”

Maybe, but the more we hear about her, the less sure we know who she is and what she represents.

An American conservative organization considered inviting her to speak not long ago but dropped the idea because of that lack of clarity. The anti-One Worlders need a lot more leaders than Mr. Trump. Unfortunately, they’re just not that easy to find. Which leads to this serious concern:

“When I hear Europeans in last two weeks talk about how they need to make British people pay for Brexit, so that other European people will not make the same decision, I’m horrified,” Mr. Schneider said. “It means European oligarchs who run the EU  want to prevent democracy from taking place throughout Europe. People will be subservient to the oligarchs.”

• Ralph Z. Hallow, chief political writer at The Washington Times, has covered Washington since 1982.

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