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Ultimately they're both French

The big French election is tomorrow. Everyone seems convinced that Le Pen is going to be slaughtered. Le Pen certainly seems resigned to it now; he has started with claims of "fraud" before the polls even open. But he has made an attempt to appear more moderate:

Mr Le Pen appeared to play down his extremist reputation on the eve of polling, telling Israeli TV that French Jews had nothing to fear from his election.

The National Front leader once referred to the Nazi genocide of the Jews as a "detail of history".

But he assured Israelis that he had condemned recent anti-Semitic violence in France and said he would be happy to visit Israel.

(And actually, come to think of it, that's more than Chirac has done.)

Still, I'm with Glenn Reynolds on this one: my rational side says that Le Pen is repugnant, so no, I don't want him to win. But there's a bit of schadenfreude here. The French are fond of being so superior, so fond of telling us how "simplistic" we are compared to them, and yet someone far more extreme than any major American candidate is a finalist. Maybe if he does well, without winning, it will be a lesson to them.


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