The New York Times, in its pre-election coverage this morning, informed us the victory of the first French President in memory who is not at least partially anti-American would mean very little. The French resist change, the Grey Lady said.
Was it projection, lack of imagination or fear that inspired the Times to proffer one of the hoariest clichés about our Gallic cousins? Probably some of each, but I would put the emphasis on the fear … because the biggest loser in the Sarkozy blowout is the media. The French media is far more monolithic in its political views than ours (and that’s saying something) and it was uniformly aligned against Sarkozy. The people, obviously, weren’t buying their message. Naturally, the Times would be alarmed.
What were they buying? Well, I’m not French, so I don’t know. And even if I were, I could only guess – just as I do about elections here that I vote in. But I suspect we are witnessing a sea change in Europe that began with election of Angela Merkel and is continuing into France. The Old Country, simply put, may be waking up to the defense of their invention – The Enlightenment – no matter what their Foucault-besotted chattering classes wish.
So what does that mean here? We live in a country where Bush’s favorable percentage hovers somewhere around Jimmy Carter’s and the likes of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi seem to be riding high, heading off to Damascus to hobnob with the ophthalmologist. Maybe I need my eyes examined, but I suspect that kind of (moral) blindness is only temporary. When 2008 rolls around… and in some ways it already has… and the American public is called upon to make a judgment about the future of our civilization that pits a Rudy Giuliani or a Fred Thompson against a Hillary Clinton or a Barak Obama, the Times may have to be as dismissive of the results as they have been with the French.
On a more social note, American tourists will now be heading back to France. Brush up your French. Or as we used to say in simpler times, “Just tell your cab driver ‘Sank roo danoo’.” (assuming you want to go to Harry’s Bar. Is it still there?)