I have another column up at The Federalist today, “Macron Slouches From Denial To Bargaining Over France’s Carbon Tax Revolts.” It’s largely an elaboration of my prior Liner Notes on this story. There is a bit more about how the media is being forced to look again at Macron’s climate change agenda, but largely remains in denial about the type of re-think they need if they want to avoid failure of the sort they have had in France and other counties.
Since I submitted the column, Macron has retreated further, from suspending the fuel tax hikes to abandoning them before another weekend of protests. France’s left-wing parties claim this is too little, too late and are trying to get other parties interested in a vote of no confidence in Macron’s government, which still seems unlikely. These developments don’t significantly change my analysis of the problem for Macron (and hardcore greens everywhere).
What got left out for space? Noah C. Rothman sees the “yellow jackets” as a movement closer to our Occupy movement than the Tea Party and concludes “Conservatives do not have a dog in this hunt.” I would say that’s only half-right. He’s relying on Jacobin for his take on the movement, when the reality seems to be that the demands from some factions of the largely leaderless movement are opposed by other factions. He’s right that in general, this is a populist movement and as such will usually wind up with a left-leaning position on economics.
I would disagree that conservatives don’t have a dog in the hunt. We certainly have an interest in the success or failure of governing institutions. We also have an interest insofar as the Republican Party (still the closest thing to a vessel for conservatism in America) is currently headed by a populist who has a similar problem to Macron — or the opposite problem, depending on how you view it. Macron has largely governed for the cities and alienated the rest of his people, culminating in the current crisis. Trump has largely focused on rural areas and is largely unpopular everywhere else, resulting in large midterm losses for the GOP everywhere except the Senate, where the party underperformed on the most favorable map since perhaps the 1920s. Conservatives need a GOP that is at least popular enough outside farm communities to maintain its majority. Macron has the reverse problem, but the lesson for conservatives regarding coalition politics should be similar.
As an aside, I have finished recapping Battlestar Galactica for The Federalist and have been asked to tackle Batman: The Animated Series, just released on Blu-ray and available through the new DC Universe streaming app. I won’t be promoting these recaps through the blog, so you need not fear for your email inbox. But I’ll also be using the recaps to think more about this iconic figure, so if you’re a Bat-fan (or have kids who are), you may want to check them out.
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