- Posted May 8, 2012 by
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New French President Hollande, Once Socialist "Softie" Now Someone Worth Studying: W J O'Reilly
- jmsaba, CNN iReport producer
Let's be honest. Americans have virtually no interest in French politics, but now that Francois Hollande has beaten Nicholas Sarkozy, we would be wise to learn something about the man who may become a progressive leader on the world political stage. The personalities of Hollande, a socialist and the man he replaces, Sarkozy, are a startling contrast and may give us insight into the directions that are implied for France and Europe. Sarkozy, a french political "rotweiler" is married to Carla Bruni, French supermodel and once a great beauty, while Hollande was willing to defer his ambitions to those of his partner Ségolène Royal as she ran against Nicolas Sarkozy for president in 2007. During that 2007 campaign, Mr. Hollande was widely derided as “Monsieur Royale.”
What we have in Hollande is someone who is centered confidently within his sense of himself, and has more than enough room for women to thrive in society as repositories of their own power This is highly significant in the usually male-centric power systems of France and Europe in general. Sarkozy was expected to "maul" Hollande during the debates, but this was not the case as Hollande transformed from "softie" to new descriptors: pragmatic, steely, relentless, savvy. While a socialist, Hollande tries to put communistic fears to rest as he is committed to progressive and positive change that helps people live meaningful lives. “Progress is no longer an ideology but it remains a fertile idea. I am a militant of progress," he said in Le Monde.
His campaign promises to tax income over $1.3 million at a 75 percent rate and to hire 60,000 more teachers.
We owe it to ourselves to try to follow the ascending leadership of Hollande in France, as it may tell us something of the changes that may affect Europe, Africa where French influence is significant, and the ripple effects on our shores.