Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sarkozy's Image at Home

French President Nicolas Sarkozy just spent a few days in Washington, DC to meet with American President Barack Obama. As discussed in news accounts, for Sarkozy much of the purpose of this trip was to improve his standing at home in France, which clearly could stand improvement. His approval ratings have sunk to 32%, the lowest level since since his election as president in 2007. His party just lost, overwhelmingly, elections for regional governments; the Socialist Party and its allies now govern every region in metropolitan (i.e., mainland and Corsica) France except Alsace.

Sarkozy had, famously, initiated an inquiry into the nature of the "French identity;" this relates to issues of integration of France's substantial Islamic minority. The Guignols de l'Info, a satirical news program, addressed this last week. Showing a map of the results of the regional elections--all red except for Alsace, the anchorman observed that the question of the French identity has now been answered: it's Socialist.

To add insult to injury, Sarkozy's father has just published an autobiography containing cringe-inducing intimate details.

As a result, after being elected President with a message of collective opportunity ("Ensemble, tout devient possible"), Sarkozy now has electoral karma that resembles less the optimisim and dynamism of his campaign than the neglected, faded and torn posters from that election that can still be seen in places like highway overpasses.

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