France's new president is enticingly young — and incredibly boring

Emmanuel Macron is the most snooze-worthy thing to happen to France in a long time

Emmanuel Macron.
(Image credit: THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

On paper, Emmanuel Macron looks very exciting. He is the youngest president in the history of the French Republic. A virtual unknown until recently, he founded his own political party just a year ago. He wants to move France beyond its old left-right partisan divide (although, I argue, he hasn't). The global establishmentarian press breathed a sigh of relief when he defeated the National Front's Marine Le Pen, stopping a global wave of populism. He has the English tabloid press clutching its pearls at the fact that he is married to his former high school drama teacher.

Despite all these tantalizing details, Macron is the most boring thing to have happened in French politics in a very long time. Scrape off the post-partisan veneer, and he is a conventional center-left politician, like the previous two Socialists to win a national election in France, François Hollande, his political mentor, and Lionel Jospin. Like them, he is a graduate of ENA, the elite French school for civil service that feeds France's ruling class. And like many ENA grads, Macron has been through the revolving door between bureaucracy and banking.

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