Angela Merkel's decision to wean Germany from nuclear power by 2022 has been wind in Cécile Duflot's sails--or perhaps I should say her turbine blades. Because Duflot is insisting that France commit to a similar course as a condition of her party's cooperation in any government. Given France's heavy dependence on nuclear power, I'm not sure that such a commitment is possible, even if it were desirable, but practicalities don't seem to have weighed heavily in Duflot's decision. Seize the moment, catch the wind, seems to have been her watchword.
So to a left that has not entirely given up the dream of le Grand Soir, France now adds a Green Party with utopian visions of its own. Not that there's anything wrong with utopia. It's a nice place to visit .... and imagining utopias is an antidote to hardening of the arteries. But funny things happen to utopians when they come to power. Not having thought very seriously about what can be done, as opposed to what it might be nice to do, they find themselves suddenly confronted with people clamoring for things to which they have become accustomed, like cheap electricity. And then they panic and make a hash of things.
One thing Sarkozy is good at is reminding his opponents of the constraints imposed by reality, and he is more keenly aware of those constraints now than he was in 2007. Of course it's never a sure bet when voters are asked to weigh past and proven failures against future potential ones. They may decide to go with the dreamers, but then again, they may prefer to believe that it's been a long time since France has seen a tsunami.