Monday, December 31, 2007

Jealousy, the Green-Eyed Monster

André Santini, one of the right's more colorful rogues, proposes the novel theory that criticism from the left of Sarkozy's high-flying vacation with his high-style paramour is due entirely to "jealousy." After all, what's the beef? "The president took only a few days off, and his vacation was financed in part by the businessman Vincent Bolloré, so it didn't cost the taxpayers a cent."

This is the sort of fine ethical judgment one would expect from a politician who in 2006 was indicted along with Charles Pasqua in the Hamon Foundation Affair: wealthy sculpture collector Jean Hamon had a museum built to hold his collection in Issy-les-Moulineaux, the town of which Santini is mayor. Public funds went into the project, and Santini is charged with having acquired an "illegal interest" in a business connected with the construction. He also serves as secretary of state for civil service under the minister of the budget.

A chrestomathy of pungent quotes attributed to the Bard of Issy can be savored here. Sample: "The difference between a cuckold and a deputy is that the cuckold isn't obliged to attend the session."

Santini also enjoys the distinction of being the founder of a club of deputies fond of Havana cigars. He once boasted that he spent 1000 euros a month on cigars--a SMIC's worth of Havanas, if you will.

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