One remarkable aspect of the unfolding Takieddine investigation is that it may not only destabilize the current president but also knock a future contender, Jean-François Copé, out of the running. The latest allegation is that both men took expensive vacations paid for by the arms dealer. Until now, one of the marvels of Sarkozy's long political career is that he has avoided any hint of corruption, even though he came up in the rough-and-tumble environment of northwest suburban Paris, where political corruption was a way of life. Somehow he avoided the missteps of Pasqua et cie., but here he is caught up in a scandal of his own, and one of his chief intraparty rivals along with him.
Of course, nothing is yet proven. My French friends, who so often reminded me during the DSK affair that we Americans "don't believe in the presumption of innocence," are now witnessing how irresistible it is to leap from allegation to condemnation, especially when the leaked evidence is so juicy. It may not be justice, but it is one heck of a spectacle.