Monday, April 22, 2002

You can tell a lot about a democracy by who it blames when the results of the democratic process are profoundly unsatisfactory.

That’s a great start for an essay on the results of the first round of the French presidential election. Too bad I’m not going to write that essay. Still. The Times yesterday blamed an electoral system that allowed in too many candidates. I think we’ll get a lot of the “too much democracy” line. Lets all blame Ralph Nader again. Voter apathy is a good one, provided we not blame the voters for the failures of the politicians. Britain is facing local elections in which the neo-nazis might do well if the turnout is low, so France has focused minds on getting the voters out. I think most “democracies” have gotten way too willing to play to the committed voters and ignore how many people won’t bother to vote for the choices handed to them. But there is so much in modern politics to be cynical about. Jospin looks way too much like Dr Strangelove and has the personality of an Al Gore. The crime isn’t that he lost to Le Pen, it’s that he wasn’t ever going to beat Chirac, a man with 7 corruption investigations that he’s ducking. Or Italy, run by a man who built an empire on Mafia money and rewrites the conflict of interest laws to eliminate the crimes he likes to commit. These two should be in jail. Gerhard Schroeder is pissing away the electoral lead the SPD used to have in Germany and is more concerned with going to court against anyone who says his hair is dyed. Which it is. I mean, come on. Democracy won the ideological battle against communism, and is now daily losing it to influence-buyers and hair-dyers.

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