September 17, 2006


France's savior is in the bullpen (Richard Z. Chesnoff, 9/17/06, NY Daily News)

He is no favorite of incumbent Chirac (their relations are often as frosty as frozen foie gras). Yet while Chirac's popularity steadily plummets, Sarkozy's is on the rise.

Here's why: Sarkozy comes bearing a tough-love message for his people that's long overdue: Arrogant France has fallen behind. Between lack of economic initiative, ravenous welfare costs and immigration woes, this once powerful nation has become a European sick man.

If the country wants to drag itself out of those doldrums, Sarkozy says, it's going to have to stop resting on its aging laurels. It must radically reform its perverse handout economy - where people work only 35 hours a week - and start to puts its nose to the grindstone.

What's more, in order to win the war on global terrorism, he insists, France has to join hands with its allies - not throw diplomatic tacks in their path.

And how's this for a breath of fresh air? Unlike all other French leaders of the last 50 years, Sarkozy genuinely admires America and Americans. He made that loud and clear when he visited the U.S. last week. Sarkozy told a Washington gathering. "I'm not a coward. I'm proud of this friendship, and I proclaim it gladly."

As even the French abandon it, American Democrats risk being the last ones advocating the French model instead of the Anglo-American.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 17, 2006 9:30 AM

Since so many U.S. intellectuals consider France to be akin to their spiritual home, and to many of the jetsetters in that group, something like their second home in fact, it will be a total shock to them to see Sarkozy bonding with Bush if he replaces Chirac between now and the middle of 2008 (and if Sarkozy was to go in with Merkel's idea of a Atlantic free-trade zone, they would react somewhere between getting the vapors and suffering apoplexy).

Posted by: John at September 17, 2006 11:46 AM

There's always Cuba for them.

Cheap, too.

Posted by: Sandy P at September 17, 2006 1:14 PM

"Since so many U.S. intellectuals consider France to be akin to their spiritual home," If you follow their logic, they follow France, France follows Bush, eventually Bush will be the coolest thing for our intellectuals. How about that?

Posted by: ic at September 17, 2006 1:45 PM

Don't be fooled. He came to ask Bush to loan them some Boeing engineers.

Posted by: Tom Wall at September 18, 2006 2:08 AM

ic --

No, they'll treat it more like the way Kevin McCarthy reacted in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" when he kissed his wife and realized she had turned into one of the pod people. They'll be running through the streets screaming "You're next!" to everyone they see (New York intellectuals will run towards the United Nations to warn Kofi and the others while praying John Bolton hasn't delievered the pods to their offices yet).

Posted by: John at September 18, 2006 8:54 AM

First laugh of the morning - thanks Tom.

Posted by: BJW at September 18, 2006 10:04 AM

Terrible, how the French have ruined the word, "frog" for all of us: it's the gayest thing one could imagine.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 18, 2006 10:42 AM