Vive Macron

by Jay Nordlinger

On the American right, do you ever hear a good word about Emmanuel Macron, the new president of France? Not that I’m aware. It could be that tribalism is simply too strong. (He’s not One of Us.) It could be un peu de regret that Madame Le Pen didn’t make it.

At the outset, Macron risked his popularity — sacrificed it, actually — to do some very hard things: things that American conservatives have been screaming at France to do for ages. He is trying to loosen the economy. He is trying to give employers greater rights to hire and fire. And so on.

He got into boiling hot water for saying, “I will not yield in any way, not to slackers, nor to cynics, nor to the extremes.” Slackers? Was he calling French workers slackers? Some of them, yes.

Now comes a remarkable instance of presidential patience and principle. A lovely young Moroccan woman approached him at an event in Paris. She explained that her parents were in France, sick, and that she was seeking a permanent residency, so as to care for them.

With great sensitivity, and at length, Macron talked with her. He asked her questions and heard her out. He then explained that she would have to go back to Morocco, as it was a safe country, and she did not need asylum. France cannot accept all people, he said, particularly given the numbers already in the country, and the number without jobs.

(You can see it all here.)

This is the kind of leadership — compassionate, smart, firm — that I think America could use. Could use more of. Yes, Macron is not One of Us. He’s not a Member of the Tribe. He’s not like Farage or Orbán or our other heroes. He’d probably be a flop on our talk radio. But what more do you want? Given Macron’s performance with that Moroccan lady, we should have his poster on our walls.

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