Pathetic politics


And now for a minor rant on politics… Yesterday we got the leaflets for the presidential campaign of all our candidates (a solid dozen or so). The H went through them, making sarcastic comments as he waded deeper into them (a lot of them were about financial regulations and what we should do about the banks, which is unfortunate for them because the H works in an investment bank). He handed the lot to me, and said something to the effect of “you should read them, but it’s seriously pathetic”.

And, I have to admit, he’s right. There are many many things that I find outright creepy in them–the insistence on overtaxing companies (er, can I point out that companies you overtax will just move to another country where taxes are lower?), on curbing immigration and promoting French values at the expense of Europe (yeah, sure, let’s step back a few decades).

But that’s not the pathetic thing. The thing is–all of those leaflets, save one [1], fail on a very simple basic criterion: they don’t make sense. They present a presidential program that does a combination of: incoherent measures, promising something we already have in place (like separating investment activities from credit activities. We already have that), and/or promising something intenable (you can’t actually hand out gift measures to everyone, and promise we’ll balance our budget by 2017). And I stare at them, and think, oh my God. That’s leaflets for voters. They think we’re going to swallow this hook, line and sinker. They think we know so little about our own country, that we have so little logical and critical sense that we’ll believe all of this.

It’s… scary. Probably not in the way that they intended, but it doesn’t make me very optimistic about the coming years.

[1] You’ll wonder about the one that made sense, aka the only leaflet the husband didn’t poke holes into as he was reading it. It’s the one from our incumbent, Sarkozy. I hate many of his measures, but I have to grant him this: he presents a coherent program, doesn’t make promises I don’t believe in for a second, and I actually trust him to do something during his presidency that doesn’t include major fuck-ups. It’s a shame, as said above, that I don’t agree with many of his measures, especially his stance on Europe and immigration.


  1. I wonder if the reason why Sarkozy presents something that’s actually tenable is because he’s been President before. It’s a theory of mine that no presidential candidate who has never been president before knows what promises to make. They don’t know enough, don’t have enough experience, and everyone on their advisement team is inexperienced as well. What do you think?

  2. *nod* I definitely did wonder that. There’s a sense of confidence exuding from that pamphlet that you just don’t get from anyone else. It makes sense, though it’s a little worrying that the candidates and their campaign teams would be so inexperienced as to have no sense of reality (and, honestly, how complicated is it to check the truthfulness of a dozen assertions on a large leaflet?)

  3. Glad to see it’s not just us then! Nothing like election year to promote emigration. Do you think anyone in Scandinavia will sponsor my visa?

  4. I’ve come to this conclusion after years of watching candidates promise Thing A and then once in office they end up doing the very thing they were fighting against during their campaigning, or changing their mind completely and doing the opposite of what they’d originally promised. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I’m assuming that experience teaches them things the campaign trail cannot….

    I’m wondering if it’s not because there’s no required Economics course for politicians, or History or…whatever the equivalent courses are that make them really dig deep into research about how things work and connect together. Well, at least in this country. Historically, other countries have instigated training programs for their politicians, though I’m not really sure that helped, either…

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