en-es  Emmanuel Macron, the new Teddy Roosevelt
Emmanuel Macron, the new Teddy Roosevelt.

There are intriguing parallels between France’s president and America’s Rough Rider.

The Economist, March 22, 2018.

THE American guest in ill-fitting clothes was a curiously bedraggled sight next to his sharp-suited French hosts. But when Steve Bannon took to the stage as the surprise invité at the National Front congress in the city of Lille earlier this month, he stole the show. “Let them call you racists. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists,” declared Donald Trump’s former chief strategist. “Wear it as a badge of honour!” As each of his phrases was translated into French, the star-struck audience applauded. Fresh from meeting populists and nationalists from Germany and Italy, Mr Bannon hailed the rise of a global movement and told them: “History is on our side”.

In one sense, Mr Bannon chose an odd time to drop in on France. Marine Le Pen’s movement, which she now wants to rename Rassemblement National (National Rally), has been in disarray ever since she lost the presidential election last year to Emmanuel Macron and secured only eight parliamentary seats. From Rome to Warsaw, populists remain a potent force in Europe. France’s muted FN stands out as something of an exception.

Yet the American’s visit to France was a sobering reminder that any relief felt by Europe’s liberal democrats at Mr Macron’s victory still needs to be tempered. Fully 10.6m French voters backed Ms Le Pen in the presidential run-off. Identity politics have not disappeared. Mr Bannon’s appearance in Lille also underlined the global appeal of nativist populism and its long history. Indeed, America’s attempts in the 1890s and early 1900s to deal with an earlier version throw up some curious and instructive parallels with France, and Europe, today.

When William Jennings Bryan gave his famous “Cross of Gold” speech at the Democratic national convention in Chicago in 1896, it was more than just an attack on the gold standard. Evoking “the avenging wrath of an indignant people”, the Nebraskan former congressman, who went on to become the joint Democratic and Populist presidential candidate, was also decrying “the idle holders of idle capital” and what later became known as trickle-down economics and the plight of the “toiling masses”, much as Ms Le Pen does today. Bryan built his populist movement around the little person—the farmers on the prairies—against the east-coast capitalists and their political cronies. Ms Le Pen frames her politics as a campaign for “the forgotten” against the rootless capitalist elite, and to recover sovereignty.

It was Theodore Roosevelt, though, who became president in 1901 at the age of 42, and devised the most effective American response. In his “Square Deal”, and later Progressive reforms, the trustbusting TR sought to take on the robber barons, regulate the railroads and smooth the rough edges of capitalism by bringing about social reform. In doing so, he helped to see off the populist threat from Bryan, secured a second term in 1904, and laid the ground for much new thinking about social policy.

The parallels with Mr Macron, who defeated Ms Le Pen at the age of 39, are striking. Like Roosevelt, Mr Macron defines his politics as “progressive”, founded his own party to blur political lines and hopes to recalibrate the political balance between what TR called “the doctrinaires of extreme individualism” and those of “extreme socialism” (though Mr Macron is hardly the Progressives’ first emulator: America’s Bill Clinton, Britain’s Tony Blair and Germany’s Gerhard Schröder, for example, used to wax lyrical about the “third way” in the 1990s). Where Roosevelt was a conservationist who expanded America’s network of national parks, Mr Macron has become a tree-hugger who vows to “make our planet great again”. Like Roosevelt, Mr Macron considers his attempt to clean up politics, curb rent-seeking and tame tech titans to be part of an effort to fashion a liberal, market-friendly response to populism that can nonetheless assuage voters’ fears.

The resemblances go deeper still. Each president was educated at his country’s elite institution (Roosevelt at Harvard; Mr Macron at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration), studied philosophy and particularly Hegel (Mr Macron wrote a thesis on the German philosopher) and is literary-minded (Roosevelt wrote dozens of books; Mr Macron is an unpublished novelist). Like Roosevelt, Mr Macron dislikes cynicism and thinks that talk of grandeur can restore national confidence. “We have to be amenable once again to creating grand narratives,” Mr Macron says, words that echo a speech made in Paris at the Sorbonne in 1910 by Roosevelt, who declared it “unhealthy” to hold “an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty”.

Prairies versus Pyrenees Of course, there is plenty to separate the two presidents. Roosevelt, the “Rough Rider”, was a one-time cowboy, hunter, and cattle-rancher in the Dakota Badlands who served as a cavalry officer in Cuba during the Spanish-American war; Mr Macron is a tennis-player and skier, of a generation that has never seen active combat. Roosevelt, who took office as a Republican after the assassination of William McKinley, founded his Progressive Party only after leaving the presidency; Mr Macron created En Marche as his vehicle for victory.

Yet the lesson of this parallel is that it takes the menace of populism to prompt the market-friendly centre to rethink some of its tenets. Roosevelt ushered in an era of progressive reform that gave the federal government a greater role in social policy and regulation. Mr Macron thinks populism thrives when people feel their leaders are impotent, in particular against the forces of globalisation. His efforts put him at the centre of a balance. Europe is trying to preserve the existing free-market order, while trying to impose new rules on it, for instance by hitting tech giants with taxes and regulations. It is a hard equation to get right. “France has taught many lessons to other nations,” declared Roosevelt in his Sorbonne speech. Its current president’s response to populism will test whether this can be another.

https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21739168-there-are-intriguing-parallels-between-frances-president-and-americas-rough-rider-emmanuel-macron?frsc=dg%7Ce
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Emmanuel Macron, the new Teddy Roosevelt.
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The Economist, March 22, 2018.
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“Let them call you racists.
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Let them call you xenophobes.
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In one sense, Mr Bannon chose an odd time to drop in on France.
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From Rome to Warsaw, populists remain a potent force in Europe.
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France’s muted FN stands out as something of an exception.
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Fully 10.6m French voters backed Ms Le Pen in the presidential run-off.
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Identity politics have not disappeared.
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The resemblances go deeper still.
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His efforts put him at the centre of a balance.
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It is a hard equation to get right.
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Emmanuel Macron, the new Teddy Roosevelt.

There are intriguing parallels between France’s president and America’s Rough Rider.

The Economist, March 22, 2018.

THE American guest in ill-fitting clothes was a curiously bedraggled sight next to his sharp-suited French hosts. But when Steve Bannon took to the stage as the surprise invité at the National Front congress in the city of Lille earlier this month, he stole the show. “Let them call you racists. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists,” declared Donald Trump’s former chief strategist. “Wear it as a badge of honour!” As each of his phrases was translated into French, the star-struck audience applauded. Fresh from meeting populists and nationalists from Germany and Italy, Mr Bannon hailed the rise of a global movement and told them: “History is on our side”.

In one sense, Mr Bannon chose an odd time to drop in on France. Marine Le Pen’s movement, which she now wants to rename Rassemblement National (National Rally), has been in disarray ever since she lost the presidential election last year to Emmanuel Macron and secured only eight parliamentary seats. From Rome to Warsaw, populists remain a potent force in Europe. France’s muted FN stands out as something of an exception.

Yet the American’s visit to France was a sobering reminder that any relief felt by Europe’s liberal democrats at Mr Macron’s victory still needs to be tempered. Fully 10.6m French voters backed Ms Le Pen in the presidential run-off. Identity politics have not disappeared. Mr Bannon’s appearance in Lille also underlined the global appeal of nativist populism and its long history. Indeed, America’s attempts in the 1890s and early 1900s to deal with an earlier version throw up some curious and instructive parallels with France, and Europe, today.

When William Jennings Bryan gave his famous “Cross of Gold” speech at the Democratic national convention in Chicago in 1896, it was more than just an attack on the gold standard. Evoking “the avenging wrath of an indignant people”, the Nebraskan former congressman, who went on to become the joint Democratic and Populist presidential candidate, was also decrying “the idle holders of idle capital” and what later became known as trickle-down economics and the plight of the “toiling masses”, much as Ms Le Pen does today. Bryan built his populist movement around the little person—the farmers on the prairies—against the east-coast capitalists and their political cronies. Ms Le Pen frames her politics as a campaign for “the forgotten” against the rootless capitalist elite, and to recover sovereignty.

It was Theodore Roosevelt, though, who became president in 1901 at the age of 42, and devised the most effective American response. In his “Square Deal”, and later Progressive reforms, the trustbusting TR sought to take on the robber barons, regulate the railroads and smooth the rough edges of capitalism by bringing about social reform. In doing so, he helped to see off the populist threat from Bryan, secured a second term in 1904, and laid the ground for much new thinking about social policy.

The parallels with Mr Macron, who defeated Ms Le Pen at the age of 39, are striking. Like Roosevelt, Mr Macron defines his politics as “progressive”, founded his own party to blur political lines and hopes to recalibrate the political balance between what TR called “the doctrinaires of extreme individualism” and those of “extreme socialism” (though Mr Macron is hardly the Progressives’ first emulator: America’s Bill Clinton, Britain’s Tony Blair and Germany’s Gerhard Schröder, for example, used to wax lyrical about the “third way” in the 1990s). Where Roosevelt was a conservationist who expanded America’s network of national parks, Mr Macron has become a tree-hugger who vows to “make our planet great again”. Like Roosevelt, Mr Macron considers his attempt to clean up politics, curb rent-seeking and tame tech titans to be part of an effort to fashion a liberal, market-friendly response to populism that can nonetheless assuage voters’ fears.

The resemblances go deeper still. Each president was educated at his country’s elite institution (Roosevelt at Harvard; Mr Macron at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration), studied philosophy and particularly Hegel (Mr Macron wrote a thesis on the German philosopher) and is literary-minded (Roosevelt wrote dozens of books; Mr Macron is an unpublished novelist). Like Roosevelt, Mr Macron dislikes cynicism and thinks that talk of grandeur can restore national confidence. “We have to be amenable once again to creating grand narratives,” Mr Macron says, words that echo a speech made in Paris at the Sorbonne in 1910 by Roosevelt, who declared it “unhealthy” to hold “an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty”.

Prairies versus Pyrenees
Of course, there is plenty to separate the two presidents. Roosevelt, the “Rough Rider”, was a one-time cowboy, hunter, and cattle-rancher in the Dakota Badlands who served as a cavalry officer in Cuba during the Spanish-American war; Mr Macron is a tennis-player and skier, of a generation that has never seen active combat. Roosevelt, who took office as a Republican after the assassination of William McKinley, founded his Progressive Party only after leaving the presidency; Mr Macron created En Marche as his vehicle for victory.

Yet the lesson of this parallel is that it takes the menace of populism to prompt the market-friendly centre to rethink some of its tenets. Roosevelt ushered in an era of progressive reform that gave the federal government a greater role in social policy and regulation. Mr Macron thinks populism thrives when people feel their leaders are impotent, in particular against the forces of globalisation. His efforts put him at the centre of a balance. Europe is trying to preserve the existing free-market order, while trying to impose new rules on it, for instance by hitting tech giants with taxes and regulations. It is a hard equation to get right. “France has taught many lessons to other nations,” declared Roosevelt in his Sorbonne speech. Its current president’s response to populism will test whether this can be another.

https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21739168-there-are-intriguing-parallels-between-frances-president-and-americas-rough-rider-emmanuel-macron?frsc=dg%7Ce