It’s early 1815, and Napoleon has returned to France from exile in Elba, landing on the coast. The French people have mixed views of this:
Napoleon drew most of his support from the workers and peasants. They loved him not so much because he was an “Emperor”, but because they believed he was a true son of the Revolution who would never reverse the Revolution’s reforms, something many feared Louis XVIII might soon do. Furthermore, Napoleon pledged himself to constitutional government in hopes of winning more support. The aristocracy and the middle class were unsure of how to feel about Napoleon’s return. However, since he had the support of the lower classes, the aristocracy and middle class said little, waiting to see what would happen. Thus, Napoleon was able to regain control of France bloodlessly; indeed, not a shot was fired. Yet, while beloved in France, Napoleon was hated in the rest of Europe: international conflict was inevitable.
The French king sent an army to stop him:
The 5th Regiment was sent to intercept him and made contact just south of Grenoble on March 7, 1815. Napoleon approached the regiment alone, dismounted his horse and, when he was within gunshot range, shouted to the soldiers, “Here I am. Kill your Emperor, if you wish.” The soldiers quickly responded with, “Vive L’Empereur!” Ney, who had boasted to the restored Bourbon king, Louis XVIII, that he would bring Napoleon to Paris in an iron cage, affectionately kissed his former emperor and forgot his oath of allegiance to the Bourbon monarch. The two then marched together towards Paris with a growing army. The unpopular Louis XVIII fled to Belgium after realizing he had little political support.
When Napoleon landed in France, the Paris newspapers warned that the “traitor” was on the march. As he approached Paris the coverage steadily got better, day by day. (Someone find me a link.) The media greeted him as a hero as he entered the capitol.
And here’s the Washington Post:
Late Thursday night, National Review, the storied conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley, published an issue denouncing Donald Trump.
“Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” the editors wrote. “Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.”
The Republican National Committee reacted swiftly — immediately revoking the permission it had given National Review to host a Republican presidential debate next month. “Tonight, a top official with the RNC called me to say that National Review was being disinvited,” the magazine’s publisher wrote online. “The reason: Our ‘Against Trump’ editorial.”
That soft flapping sound you hear is the Grand Old Party waving the flag of surrender to Trump. Party elites — what’s left of the now-derided “establishment” — are acquiescing to the once inconceivable: that a xenophobic and bigoted showman is now the face of the Republican Party and of American conservatism.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page had long criticized Trump’s candidacy, publishing an editorial in July arguing that the conservative media who applaud Trump “are hurting the cause.” The editors opined: “If Donald Trump becomes the voice of conservatives, conservatism will implode along with him.”
A week ago, the Journal reversed course. “Mr. Trump is a better politician than we ever imagined, and he is becoming a better candidate,” the editorialists wrote, speculating that “he might possibly be able to appeal to a larger set of voters than he has so far.”
I’m 60 years old and this is by far the worst humiliation I’ve ever seen a political party experience, much worse that the 1968 Democratic convention (which I recall vividly). Seriously, will someone just kill off the GOP and put it out of its misery? Perhaps the Whigs could be brought back.
The only thing worse than a two party system is a one party system, and that’s what we’ve now got in America.
It’s the Democrats. Period. End of story.
Next up . . . Waterloo.
Update: Miguel Madeira sent me the Napoleon story I was looking for. Even if your French is as bad as mine, you can probably read it without translation:
Maintenant, si on veut le suivre dans sa marche victorieuse jusqu’à Paris, on n’a qu’à consulter le Moniteur. Pour guider nos lecteurs dans cette recherche historique, nous allons en donner un extrait assez curieux. On y trouvera la marche graduée de Napoléon vers Paris, avec la modification que son approche produisait dans les opinions du journal.
– L’anthropophage est sorti de son repaire.
– L’ogre de Corse vient de débarquer au golfe Juan.
– Le tigre est arrivé à Gap.
– Le monstre a couché à Grenoble.
– Le tyran a traversé Lyon.
– L’usurpateur a été vu à soixante lieues de la capitale.
– Bonaparte s’avance à grands pas, mais il n’entrera jamais dans Paris.
– Napoléon sera demain sous nos remparts.
– L’empereur est arrivé à Fontainebleau.
– Sa Majesté Impériale et Royale a fait hier son entrée en son château des Tuileries au milieu de ses fidèles sujets !
OK, OK, for you Trump supporters here’s the google translate:
Now if we want to follow him in his victorious march to Paris, we only need consult the Monitor. To guide our readers in this historic research, we will give a curious extract. We will find the graduated march of Napoleon to Paris, with the modification that the approach produced in the opinions of the newspaper.
– The cannibal went out of his lair.
– The Corsican ogre just landed the Gulf of Juan.
– The tiger arrived at Gap.
– The monster slept in Grenoble.
– The tyrant has gone through Lyon.
– The usurper was seen at sixty leagues from the capital.
– Bonaparte is advancing with great strides, but it will never enter Paris.
– Napoleon will be under our ramparts tomorrow.
– The Emperor arrived at Fontainebleau.
– His Imperial and Royal Majesty yesterday made its entry into the Tuileries surrounded by his loyal subjects!
Update#2: As I expected, Bloomberg’s likely to run if it’s Sanders vs. Trump.