In common with Sartre and de Beauvoir, the great mass of Frenchmen indulged themselves heartily in the spectacle of political scandals as a part of the nation's pursuit of escapism. Hand in hand with this indulgence went a deep disgust and disillusion with politicians and government.... By 1934the reputation of politicians in France had sunk toa record low; but it was to sink still lower and with it [the effectiveness] of government. Constantly there was some new scandal [in one party or another] and, however distantly, some Minister [Secretary of some department] in what the cynics dubbed "the Republic of Pals" always seemed to be implicated. As Pertinax [political columnist of the period]pungently observed, French politicians had assumed the habit of "dealing with their country as if it were a [corporation going into Chapter 11 viz United Airlines].... A favorite insult with Parisian taxi drivers became "Espece de depute!! [Slimy Congressman]. The populace loathed the politicians; the politicians loathed each other."
From Alistair Horne's To Lose a Battle, a study of France's collapse in 1940.
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