France's lesson to US conservatives: An update to "My Melenchony Baby"

Update: The main mode of wealth acquisition in France is waiting for one's parents to die. Why get the inheritance in a devalued new French franc rather than in Euro? French voters will elect the "bubble" candidate Emmanuel Macron, the clearest supporter of French membership in the Eurozone, and leave the National Front's Marine Le Pen in the dust in the May 7 second round of the national elections. What about the 234 murders of French citizens by jihadists in the past year or so? Remember what Machiavelli said: A man will forgive the murder of his father before the loss of his inheritance.

The nationalist wing of American conservatives made exactly the same methodological error as the Neo-cons: It believed that American circumstances and sentiments could be exported to other countries. The Europeans are different. "Nationalism" is an insult in the mouth of Macron, who styles himself a "patriot." Nationalism brought the Europeans the two World Wars of the 20th century and untold misery, and there are few who are willing to try it again. We Americans truly are unique: What we mean by "nationalism" is our commitment to the American nation, which is not a "nation" in the European sense (defined by birth), but a "new nation conceived in liberty," chosen from among the nations of the world.

The surge in support for ultra-leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon to 19% in the French presidential polls -- from just 11.4% on March 13 -- shows how dangerous the French political situation has become.

Most of Mélenchon's gain came at the expense of the candidate of the governing Socialist Party, Benoit Hamon, who shows less than 8% support in the latest polls. When the ruling party's candidate polls in single digits, something nasty is at work.

With 25% undecided before Sunday's first round elections, the jump in support for a candidate who calls for a 100% tax rate on the rich indicates a nasty polarization in French society. There are two risks. One is that National Front leader Marine Le Pen and Mélenchon win the first round, giving France a choice between an extreme right and extreme left who agree about leaving the European Union. Both also are friendly with Moscow. The other is that Le Pen will face either the traditional conservative Francois Fillon or the synthetic centrist Emmanuel Macron, with the likelihood that the left will support Le Pen rather than -- as in the past -- obediently align itself with the center in order to defeat the National Front. A Le Pen victory would mean the end of Europe's institutions as we know them.

The "centrist" candidate, former economics minister Emmanuel Macron, is a 39-year-old technocrat whose principle attraction is the fact that he hasn't ever run for office and is not tainted by association with the existing parties. The default scenario has Le Pen and Macron winning the first round, and the body politic uniting behind Macron to stop Le Pen in the second round. That could go pear-shaped.