"La Vie en Rose" - Louis Armstrong
- Very happy to see the Socialists prevail in the French presidential election. I am hoping that this will be the beginning of a revivial of a European left that actually considers unemployment -- not pleasing bankers and the German right -- to be the continent's most pressing problem. Yglesias has some thoughts on the constraints under which Hollande will operate. Of course, the short term concern here is that turmoil in Europe will harm Obama's re-election prospects. Ultimately though if the left is to regain its vitality in Europe it needs to move beyond the discredited deregulatory policies of the Blair-Brown (and Clinton) third way, and get people -- especially the young -- back to work.
- Meanwhile, the Greek elections seem to offer a cautionary tale about where the continued failure of the mainstream parties to meaningfully address the European economic crisis could lead. (Marine LePen's showing in the first round of the French elections are also illustrative of this potential.) The collapse of the vote for Greece's two leading parties to about one-third of the total vote is a stunning repudiation of the country's political establishment.
- Krugman is pleased to see the voters strike back at austerity. The question is whether new governments can embrace a politics of growth without destroying the Euro. Ultimately I think the Euro is a failed and anti-democratic experiment, but its demise would undoubtedly cause severe short term dislocation. Maybe the most hopeful development for the continent would be the defeat of Merkel and her coalition in next year's German elections. There are signs of slippage there, although the SPD shows disappointing strength even in the wake of Merkel's problems. Once again, fringe parties -- in this case the German "Pirate" party -- seem to be attracting voters who are disenchanted with the traditional political alternatives.
This strikes me as a pretty dangerous moment for European democracy as the established parties show themselves inadequate to the moment. I only hope that its spillover effect does not harm Obama in November.