First step for the candidate of the Socialist Party (PS): preempt the electorate of Mélenchon before attacking Emmanuel Macron.
Benoît Hamon is to Jean-Luc Mélenchon what Macron is to Valls: a candidate younger, faster, and more sympathetic. All the scenography of his official investiture, Sunday, February 5 at the Mutualité, was designed with the sole purpose of launching its takeover bid of Mélenchon’s voters. Two key speeches were planned: that of Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, then that of former Minister for Justice Christiane Taubira, before the final speech of the candidate.
In the first row, two candidates who failed in their bid to win the votes of the Socialists’s, Arnaud Montebourg and Vincent Peillon, came personally to support the winner of the primary. Manuel Valls was absent. Hamon however was satisfied with the presence of two senators, Luc Carvounas and Didier Guillaume, campaign director of Valls.
The mayor of Paris insisted that in Paris, the majority of voters are mixed. Ecologists and communists “with all the shades of pink and all the shades of red”. “Our nuances and our differences are A force, “she said. Anne Hidalgo, who had supported the candidacy of Vincent Peillon, highlighted the points of convergence between the program of Benoît Hamon and the more general aspiration of the PS to the ecological transition.
“If being bobo means thinking about the world and solidarity, then here in Paris, long live the bobos!” She said in a provocation to those who blame her for thinking only of themselves. “Long live the bobos and all the others,” said Hamon later, recalling that the first victims of climatic disruptions, pollutions, and junk food are “often, if not always the most modest.”
How to avoid the weight of Hollande?
Benoît Hamon was mainly focused on how he would bring around the support of those who support current President Hollande. To gather the party together, it was necessary to draw on something positive. Hamon, played the game by insisting on school reforms, the fight for gender equality, the ecological transition initiated by Ségolène Royal, and measures in favor of the handicapped.
He carefully avoided the subjects of annoyance. Not a word on the Cice, the Merkozy treaty, the deprivation of nationality, the El Khomri law. Benoît Hamon knows more than any other that one does not win an election on a balance sheet. He had prepared his blow by evoking the record of Lionel Jospin, who had been unanimous in the PS, yet still lost to Jean-Marie Le Pen and Jacques Chirac in the 2002 election.
He also spoke of his own family. His two daughters are raised in Issy-les-Moulineaux where he has just bought an apartment. He described himself as an ordinary man concerned about the fact that his children, at school, are taught not to run in the yard on days of great pollution with fine particles, and exercise indoors in the event of a terrorist attack . What parent is not affected by this testimony? It is very likely that the speech of Hamon “dad” meets a public that goes beyond the left.
No deficit to 6% or 7%
So it is as a father, responsible for the well-being of his children and grandchildren, that he proposes radical choices in favor of the ecological transition (on renewable, nuclear, diesel). The budgetary issues become secondary. He once again hammered out one of the key phrases in his primary campaign (perhaps the one that made him win).
“We can negotiate debt with banks, we will not negotiate environmental debt with the planet.”
By the way, he still wanted to “reassure the important”, he will not push “the deficit to 6 to 7%” if elected. Here Hamon makes a concession to the left of the government and the first secretary of the Socialist Party, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, who had the opportunity to tell him that he put the means of the PS at his disposal. But he will not leave “the culture of the government of the left to be sacrificed” by an overly dreamy candidate.
In short, Benoît Hamon, while retaining his priorities – rethinking work in a future of robots, converting the growth model to more sobriety, and so on. – will undoubtedly have to recalculate his financial trajectories in order to remain in a defensible stance against the reformers of the PS, French creditors and her European partners.
But not immediately: Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who said he was ready to “work” with Benoît Hamon in an interview with the Parisian has no intention of giving him an inch of ground. Mélenchon claims Benoît Hamon is too close to governmental figures for his taste. “Do not ask me. It does not make sense, “he said.
Macron and the ” Cheetah’s Doctrine “
The candidate of the PS also slipped some allusions to Emmanuel Macron, describing him as the candidate of the “Cheetah doctrine” of Luchino Visconti. “Everything must change so that nothing changes” was the motto of the character of the film played by Burt Lancaster. Macron, in the eyes of Hamon, is a”cheetah” candidate, a “creature of the system that a skillful manipulation reinvents in great transformer. “I do not believe it,” he concluded.
Finally, Hamon insisted on the anti-Gaullist character of his candidacy. He does not pretend to be the providential man who would have all the answers. He wants to believe in a horizontal, cooperative left, and wants to break with the Caesarist practices of the Fifth Republic.
For him, the figure of an omniscient president is “a deceit, an imposture.” He proposes a Sixth Republic which offers the people, capable of “collective intelligence”, the means of contributing to legislative work rather than signing a blank check for five years. In this regard, he quoted Mitterrand as saying “I do not want to take power, but give it back to the people.”
François Mitterrand has done exactly the opposite by coiling himself in the institutions of the Fifth Republic. Is it the fate of the Left to promise a thing in opposition and to make its opposite come true once in power?