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October 18, 2007

To The Left of France

"If we are not careful and you don't elect me, this country will be to the left of France," says Rudy Giuliani. It's sort of hard to fully conceive of this, but we could elect Dennis Kucinich and 10 more Democratic senators and we wouldn't get anywhere near France. France is a country where the rightwing reformer won't touch the 35-hour workweek, where all sorts of powerful politicians call themselves socialists, where there's over a month of legally mandated vacation and unlimited sick days. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, just released a proposal to guarantee 7 paid sick days to all Americans. And for the Democrats, that's actually pretty bold!

October 18, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

There is nothing remotely bold about the Democrats. They are cowardly, corrupt, craven scum. In most countries, the progressive party is interested in actual progress. The Democrats just want to give people enough crumbs to prevent them from rising up and cutting their throats. The Democratic party, their craven corruption, and their personal weakness are EVERYTHING that's wrong with this country.

Posted by: soullite | Oct 18, 2007 8:29:51 AM

I've never really understood why government should be involved in deciding how much vacation private business should or should not allot to employees. I guess it depends upon your vision of government and it's charge.

For Clinton, it's just "Vote for me and I'll get you something for nothing".

Posted by: El Viajero | Oct 18, 2007 8:41:15 AM

Troll.

Posted by: ajay | Oct 18, 2007 9:00:56 AM

Well, French social policy on race and diversity is light-years behind America. While right-wing politicians uphold the universal right to health care, left-wing politicians - socialists! - bow to the altar of Frenchness like Gallic Tancredos.

The two are not unrelated. This isn't in any way a defense of Giuliani, for whom race-baiting and disguised white nationalism have been pretty much the only feature carried over between his two political careers, and who as such would probably quite enjoy the French discourse of nationality, but just a note on the French.

Posted by: DivGuy | Oct 18, 2007 9:01:32 AM

To the left of France--isn't that the Atlantic Ocean?

Posted by: Herschel | Oct 18, 2007 9:27:24 AM

Hillary Clinton may be more conservative than Rudy.

Posted by: Floccina | Oct 18, 2007 9:31:57 AM

Hillary Clinton may be more conservative than Rudy.

I would love to know the definition of the word "conservative" that makes that sentence true.

Posted by: Glenn | Oct 18, 2007 9:46:14 AM

I never understood why people should have to renegotiate something as simple and vital as sick leave and vacation every time there is a new employer or a new employee when the government can just declare basic essential benefits. The the absence of this reform causes a waste of time and a bounty of misery.

Posted by: Kazumatan | Oct 18, 2007 9:46:30 AM

I have major disagreements with French social policy on race and diversity, but one must acknowledge that even if they are truly "light years behind America" in this regard (and this seems a bit exaggerated to me) their outcomes in terms of societal race relations and diversity of opportunity are not so far behind.

Posted by: Meh | Oct 18, 2007 10:21:14 AM

What DivGuy alludes to is correct. I actually don't think that Giuliani is threatening Americans with the prospect of more liberal employment law. He's likely alluding to France's racial and cultural policies as well as their perceived outlook on the war in Iraq. And in these senses, yes, American policies will be to the left of France if a democrat is elected (and in the case of race, our policies already are to the left of France).

This isn't about labor market regulation. Giuliani is dangling the spectre of race riots and Eurabia (ironically exacerbated by France's retrograde policies on this issue).

Posted by: Tyro | Oct 18, 2007 10:38:25 AM

It doesn't mean anything...it's just a smear by Rudy to try to lump together two things that the right wing hates (Hillary and France). Giuliani is a moron who knows nothing about foreign affairs, unless you consider kicking Arafat out of the Lincoln Center a foreign affairs portfolio. Just like all his talk about socialist medicine, he's just tossing in base buzzwords. And it ain't working. Hillary is now viewed more favorably than Giuliani is, according to the polls I'm seeing. Think about that.

Posted by: Lev | Oct 18, 2007 10:59:18 AM

It is also part of the Big Lie that the right puts out about what is mainstream. FOX News is presented as the balance to the "liberal" CNN. Anyone who thinks CNN is liberal should be required to listen to a few days of Pacifica Radio. Centrist candidates are similarly declared to be "liberal".

Partly this is because "liberal" is often used by the modern right to mean "stuff I disagree with". But it also is an attempt to redefine the center. A conservative who is not overtly a raving lunatic can claim to be a moderate, and with it try to claim the moderate vote. Anyone who actually is a liberal in any traditional sense of the word can be dismissed as an extremist.

Posted by: Richard Hershberger | Oct 18, 2007 11:15:18 AM

America is a whole (probably including many Republicans) is far to the left of most other countries (barring Australia and Canada perhaps) in believing both in theory and to some degree in practice in the concept of a multi-ethnic nation. In most places, the vast bulk of the populace believe that the state 'belongs' to an ethnicity. China is the country of the (Han) Chinese, Japan is the country of the Japanese, Germany is the country of the Germans etc.

Rudy himself is to the left of the French on this one. He can, and presumably does, think of himself as Italian-American, but the majority of French people (and Italians for that matter) would find it very hard to truly comprehend and accept the concept of an Italian-Frenchman.

Posted by: JohnTh | Oct 18, 2007 11:56:01 AM

Really? The President of France has three non-French grandparents - two Hungarians and one Greek Jew. His father was born in Budapest. Tell me the last American president who was the son and grandson of immigrants.

Posted by: Bloix | Oct 18, 2007 12:04:55 PM

"The Democratic party, their craven corruption, and their personal weakness are EVERYTHING that's wrong with this country."

The Democrats are EVERYTHING that's wrong with this country?

Aren't you letting off the GOP a little lightly there?

Ah, well, bet you voted for Nader.
That worked out well, didn't it?

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan | Oct 18, 2007 12:05:29 PM

Bloix,

Very true - and most West-Europeans I know are getting a lot more comfortable with people switching between various European nationalities. However, to my knowledge one switches but does not add - thus M. Sarkozy would almost never be thought of or described as a Hungarian-Frenchman, but just as a Frenchman. The concept of separating ethnicity from nationality is in my experience something that Americans are further along with than Europeans (let alone East Asians). But I do not follow French media much, so I stand ready to be corrected

Posted by: JohnTh | Oct 18, 2007 12:13:43 PM

Heck, John Edwards is proposing a national health care policy that is unquestionably to the right of anything that Margaret Thatcher ever envisioned. Rudy is just flapping his jowls as usual.

Posted by: chowchowchow | Oct 18, 2007 12:33:03 PM

It saddens me that "France" is such an epithet. Yes, I don't care for their racial views or their arrogance about "Frenchness" (whatever that is), but they are a free, Western, educated, developed country that is closer to us on everything that matters than Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or many of our other "friends" will ever be in our lifetimes. Plus, they have great wine and cheese, and a respect for art and beauty. This is more schoolyard nonsense, just because they dare to question our foreign policy from time to time.

Posted by: The_Question | Oct 18, 2007 8:54:24 PM

It saddens me that "France" is such an epithet.

It's the socialism, stupid.

Posted by: El Viajero | Oct 19, 2007 3:21:19 AM

France is a nation-state.
Spain is a nation-state

The US is anything but.

Posted by: David | Oct 19, 2007 10:31:04 AM

"Really? The President of France has three non-French grandparents - two Hungarians and one Greek Jew. His father was born in Budapest. Tell me the last American president who was the son and grandson of immigrants."
Posted by: Bloix | Oct 18, 2007 12:04:55 PM

Answer: Washington, Adams, Jefferson

Posted by: Ed the sorta sociopathic werewolf | Oct 20, 2007 1:29:01 PM

The ancestors of Washington and Jefferson had been in Virginia since the mid-1600's and the ancestors of Adams in Massachusetts for just as long. So no, they were not the sons and grandsons of immigrants.

Posted by: bloix | Oct 20, 2007 5:26:00 PM

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Posted by: peterwei | Oct 21, 2007 11:22:52 PM

However, to my knowledge one switches but does not add - thus M. Sarkozy would almost never be thought of or described as a Hungarian-Frenchman, but just as a Frenchman.

More exactly, he has the right to be considered as a mere franchman, whatever he chooses to feel in private.

I can understand how, from an US point of view, the french way may seem repressive. But the ick goes both ways : from a french point of view, the US way is hypocritical, even a surrender to racism, to put thing bluntly. So things just work differently.

"The question" :

their arrogance about "Frenchness" is a myth.

It's just "not being a client state". There was a pew poll about the way people consider their own culture about that.

Posted by: yabonn | Oct 24, 2007 2:26:47 PM

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