By DENIS BOYLES [National Review] – The news in Europe now is dominated by François Hollande…But it was far less a victory for Hollande than a defeat for Sarkozy, who had entered office as an anti-establishment candidate, fighting his way to the top over the strong objections of his own party’s elite. In fact, the victory was so imaginary that to celebrate last night, France 24 reported, “Thousands storm Bastille for left’s long-expected party.” Some ideas die hard.
Sarkozy seemed to represent a refreshing future for French politics after years dominated by cynical men like Mitterand and Chirac. And he seemed like a man of the moment: Throughout the world there is a growing disgust with the political class — the same gallery of men and women with the same trite ideas and sentimental platitudes, all propped up by media companies that have lost their ability to inform, let alone influence. Just five years ago, Sarko was a little guy who looked tough and fought tough, thumbed his nose at his president and at the press — and won.
Then he made himself despicable by becoming just another visionless officeholder and a celebrity. He became George H. W. Bush standing on a national platform staring at his wristwatch for five long years.