Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Libé depicts Sarko as sulking jealously in Paris while Obama is anointed in Washington. That may be, but Libé also says that one reason for the alleged jealousy is that "Obama enjoys an extraordinary popularity in his country, which has never been the case for his French counterpart." Polls put Obama's approval rating at 72 to 80 percent, which is indeed extraordinary, but Sarko, shortly after his assumption of office, enjoyed an approval of 72 percent, as high as any French president at the beginning of his term (and indeed, he remained at 65 percent two months into his term. Don't believe me? "You could look it up," as Casey Stengel used to say). To be sure, there is a special aura around Obama, in part because he is the first black president, in part because he comes to office in desperate times, and in part because he succeeds one of the worst presidents in American history, whose eviction from office was greeted by many as something of a deliverance. Sarko may yet have reason to be jealous, if Obama proves clever enough to avoid squandering the great élan that accompanies his accession to the presidency. But it's a little premature to be sulking on Inauguration Day, unless it's because Sarko is still miffed by Obama's refusal to meet with him during the transition period.

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