In The New York Sun, Mark Steyn asks, “Is the French election a belated acknowledgment of reality or the latest attempt to dodge it?”
In other words, is it Britain voting for Mrs. Thatcher in 1979 and America for Ronald Reagan the following year? That’s to say, the electorate understands the status quo is exhausted and unsustainable and that unless catastrophe is to be avoided radical course correction is required. Or is it Germany voting tepidly and tentatively to give Angela Merkel the narrowest of victories in 2005? In other words, the electorate was irritated with the incumbents but recoiled from any meaningful change, with the result that Frau Merkel found herself presiding over a nominally fresh government with no agenda and no mandate for reform.
I’d bet on the latter. Just as Frau Merkel proved not to be Germany’s Thatcher, I would be surprised if Nicolas Sarkozy turned out to be France’s Reagan. Not because he doesn’t have Reaganite tendencies but because the French electorate, like the Germans, aren’t there yet.
It may or may not be time to pass around the Friendship Fries, but it’s rare, positive news coming out of France, and that’s something, at least.