Sarkozy, who arrived in office beating all drums, seems to have concluded that the system can handle only one reform at a time. No longer the "omnipresident," he risks becoming what he once despised, the caretaker president that he accused Chirac of being, un roi fainéant. No doubt he is busy preparing his re-election campaign, or the promised October remaniement. In the meantime his ministers are either scouring the want-ads for future employment or lobbying quietly to be included in the shrunken government promised for the fall. With the government marking time, the papers have nothing to discuss but the tribulations of the soccer satyrs and their underage playmate.
It is truly a summer of discontent, but also, I fear, of ominous disconnect. The country is not happy, despite the apparent calm. France has exhausted its elites. Feeling let down by their énarques, the French decided to let the nouveau riche business elite--the Neuilly crowd--have a go at running the country. What they got in return was an expanded tax shield and the Bettencourt-Woerth affair. In place of the network of old boys from X and Sciences Po, they discovered a nexus of financial advisors, tax shelters, horse-race enthusiasts, luxury hotels,