I admit The Jogger looks good without his shirt. But then I never denied that he would. I only denied that Sarkozy had the slightest political or economic originality anywhere in his well-sculpted body.
This is still true. His domestic stuff is chicken feed. The university "reforms" are especially pathetic - I'll gripe about them some other time. The big foreign policy score with Libya was a) in preparation for years in the EU, b) bought with a big nuclear weapons plant deal among other things and c) involved the usual reliance on local broker-dictators, in this case the Emir of Qatar. The support of strongman misrulers of Africa to help large French businesses perfectly continues French foreign policy in Africa rather than breaks with it. Even the outreach to the Socialists in the form of Bernard Kouchner as Foriegn Minister is less than it seems: as a guest pointed out on "On Refait le Monde" on RTL last Friday, Kouchner was bypassed by almost everyone on the Jogger's team including the Jogger's wife.
The Jogger's angry cursing at two AP photographers on Lake Winipausakee isn't original either. It fits perfectly with his role as an international celebrity stalked by papparazzi (which is how most of the press is seen by the New Class of media-handlers in politics - well this is slightly original in France). If Sarkozy can jog like Jimmy Carter in 1977, why not yell at photographers like Sean Penn in 1987? No one ever said Nicholas Sarkozy had unusual depth of character, gravitas, thoughtfulness - quite the opposite. He's a creature of his desires and ego needs, the difference being that now in the Western media this is seen as a strength rather than a liability - showing regular people how to liberate themselves to respond to market forces and all that. So why shouldn't le president de la republique act like a a teen idol who's been inconvenienced?
Still, I do admire the Jogger's originality in embarking on Lake Winnipesaukee in a canoe - original, that is, for a president of France. It's a wonderful lake and I place I really miss being so far from New England these days.