Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Squalid Period

It's been a rather squalid period in French politics of late, and I haven't been much moved to write. The national identity debate seems to have dragged the whole campaign for the regionals down with it, and tonight new depths were reached with the Besson-Le Pen face-off. Vincent Peillon tried to make a spectacle of himself by walking out after agreeing to participate. Meanwhile, the president, who has been touring the country offering New Year's greeting to one group or another, has seized on the Haitian tragedy as a more suitable stage for his indefatigable energies. He will go to offer his solace in person. I'm not sure this is the most useful contribution he can make, but for such a virtuoso of sympathy, the opportunity is irresistible. Meanwhile, Martine Aubry is now ranked by pollsters as the president's most effective opponent thanks to a few recent forays, including a call for granting the right to vote in local elections to foreigners. A good move, but one that the Socialists failed to make while in power. Still, it is tactically shrewd, since the UMP is divided on this issue. At last the Socialists have discovered the virtues of divide et impera, of which Sarko is past master.

Blame France

Did you know that the Haitian earthquake was the fault of the French? With some help from the devil, of course. So says Pat Robertson, who takes American French-and-devil-bashing to new heights:

PAT ROBERTSON: And, you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, "We will serve you if you will get us free from the French." True story. And so, the devil said, "OK, it's a deal."

And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It's cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti; on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, et cetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now, we're helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable.
KRISTI WATTS (co-host): Absolutely, Pat.

h/t Kirk, Bill

Seriously, consider contributing to Haitian relief through Doctors without Borders or the Clinton Foundation. After the tsunami, I thought no worse natural disaster was imaginable. I was wrong.