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Macron's mistakes Macron's mistakes
by Jay Gutman
2019-01-22 10:53:21
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When I started out as a journalist, a hundred years ago, I did every mistake a journalist could make. Over the years I learned the craft still make the occasional mistake, but I can handle the job.

People who get started in business make mistakes, but the seriousness of the mistakes will determine whether their business will last or whether it will flop in the first year.

macr01_400Macron made four big mistakes that I will outline here, then discuss how he can save his job before it's too late. But I predict that he will cling to his job, but I can see him being forced to resign by spring, or summer at the latest. Why? In politics, if demonstrators ask you to resign, you can keep your job. But if the intelligence agency, the police, the secret service and the presidential guard force you to resign, you have no other choice.

So to the mistakes. First mistake Macron made was not to appoint experienced politicians in his cabinet. In politics, you need to work with people with a ton of experience, who know every alley in the government, and who have a fat address book. That way, if you're stuck in a situation, they can tell you where to go and they know who to call. A few days ago Macron published a three or four page long letter to the French people. Rule number one in politics, never address your people through a letter. Second mistake, when addressing your people, keep it short and simple. Who was advising Macron?

Second mistake: Macron's party was using journalistic pedagogy rather than political pedagogy. In journalism, we try to enlighten people, clarify certain points, give food for thought. In politics, you're like the serial womanizer who goes out to seduce. Political pedagogy is seduction. You dress up. You put make up on. You woo your electors. You beg people for their votes. You use a little bit of demagoguery. You use pick up lines. Macron's party did not of that. They were like virgins trying to get votes.

Third mistake: in French politics, demonstrations are part of the game. People demonstrate all the time. Macron and his party is kind of like that guy who dates a girl and thinks he will never have to argue with her. In politics, there are arguments all the time. And when the French demonstrate, past governments have never, never, ever told demonstrators they were not supposed to demonstrate. Ever. For the first time in French politics, La république en marche has made continual smear campaigns against demonstrators. Big mistake. Never tell demonstrators not to demonstrate. As for violence, most previous government acted like that was a minor detail. 

Fourth mistake: France is kind of a parliamentary monarchy with an elected president as a monarch. De Gaulle, Pompidou, Mitterrand and Chirac were all mostly silent, focusing on state visits and official duties, but made sure the National Assembly was roaring with debate. Hollande did the same thing. Sarkozy as well, although Sarkozy chipped in when other presidents tended to watch silently the National Assembly eat each other with argument and debate. With Macron? His party members of parliament don't know how to debate. They don't master the art of rhetoric. There has not been one single serious debate since Macron was elected.

Can Macron catch up on his mistakes? I can see two scenarios. One, which he should do urgently, is try to reshuffle the government and bring some big names into the new government. Rachida Dati, Elizabeth Guigou, Julien Dray, Jean-François Copé, Azzouz Beggag and other big names who had problems with their political party, have fat address books, who know the political alleys, and are looking for a big come back in politics.

If that doesn't work, dissolve the national assembly. Do it quick if bringing big names to the government does not appease tensions, Macron will have to dissolve the National Assembly, call for early legislative elections. I think it will be a tight race between the Socialist party and les Républicains, but whoever wins most seats will get a Prime minister who will appoint a new cabinet. Macron will thus be a lame duck, and his party will be for half a page in some contemporary history book.

If that doesn't appease tensions? People will come knocking on Macron's door forcing him to resign. 

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