Today in “Asked and Answered” (French Election Edition)

Ross Douthat asks:  Is There a Case for Le Pen?

I answer:  no, no there isn’t.

That concludes today’s edition of “Asked and Answered.”

Side note:  because one can tease out things a politician has said that might be reasonable, or that one could see raising legitimate issues worthy of debate is not the same thing as their being a case for that politician being president of their country.  (And, further, one cannot ignore the implications of those ideas in the hands of a person in power when deciding whether a case can be made).

Also:  the attempt to separate party from president is quaint.

FILED UNDER: Europe, World Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. wr says:

    No doubt Douthat hopes that LePen will outlaw unmarried people from having sex. This seems to be the only thing he really cares about. Even his seeming desire for a religious dictatorship always boils down to keeping people from having sex.

    This is one troubled person.

  2. gVOR08 says:


    This is one troubled person.

    And not terribly bright.

    About all he’s got going for him is that when Bill Kristol’s lies caught up with him, Douthat was the best conservative pundit NYT could find. I know, I know. But he probably really was the best available. Probably still is, as the new guy, Bret Stephens has singularly failed to impress in this debut.

  3. @gVOR08: I concur on the Stephens’ debut. I started to comment on it, but couldn’t decide where to start.

  4. Kylopod says:

    Douthat writes:

    To begin with, nobody seriously doubts Le Pen’s competence, her command of policy, her ability to serve as president without turning the office into a reality-TV thunderdome. Trump’s inability to master his own turbulent emotions is not an issue with his Gallic counterpart.

    It doesn’t seem to occur to Douthat that this makes Le Pen potentially more dangerous than Trump. But, also, since when was contrasting a candidate with Donald Trump a good way of evaluating their strengths? That’s sort of like praising a singer for having a better voice than William Hung.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: It was indeed a target rich environment. I contented myself with commenting that it was an “inauspicious” debut, being only a garden variety, ‘It’s all the liberals fault’ screed, Hillary for running an imperfect campaign and the climate scientists for having failed to make just the perfect argument. With great difficulty I refrained from noting the guy seems dumber than Douthat.

  6. SenyorDave says:

    Gee, what could be wrong with electing the fascist leader of a party that continues to have holocaust-deniers in their senior ranks?

  7. Kylopod says:

    @SenyorDave: Trump has more or less endorsed Le Pen. Maybe not terribly surprising, but it raises an important point. If Le Pen has her way, Jews would be banned from wearing yarmulkes in public, performing kosher slaughter, or wielding an Israeli passport in the country with the world’s third-largest Jewish population. I don’t mean to suggest Trump approves of those measures, but despite who his daughter and son-in-law are, he is apparently indifferent. People should consider that the next time they’re tempted to say “But but but… Ivanka & Jared!” as a catch-all defense of the man whenever the subject of anti-Semitism comes up.

  8. dazedandconfused says:

    I don’t agree with him much…but I kinda wonder if he was being fully honest on that one.

    Something Krauthammer once said which got me thinking. He recounted his journey to becoming a pundit. He said he had no thought of it because he didn’t believe he had an interesting essay in him on a weekly basis, he didn’t even have one on a monthly one. To have to write one twice a week seemed silly…and it is, for nearly everybody, I would opine.

    Yet that is the game. So many of these pundits must not only produce something but produce something which gets clicks, and we all know what that means. Not defending the guy.,..just saying the staff pundits for the major publications have to be work horses…and work horses invariably leave some horse apples in their wake.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yesterday NYT gave Stephens a column in which he responded to selected (by him) comments from his debut column. They didn’t allow comments on his responses. Lo how the Gray Lady has fallen.

    Please comment on future Stephens columns. Perhaps, as with Kristol, they can be shamed into dumping him.