Contrary to what French President Nicolas Sarkozy might have you believe, whether or not to allow women to wear the burqa is not a burning issue in France. In fact, this is the first time I’ve heard the question raised in eight years. So why did Sarkozy bring it up? Art Goldhammer wonders out loud:
Is it because Obama, while in Cairo and again in France, ruffled somerepublican sensibilities by suggesting that a free society oughtn’t totell individuals what they ought to wear?
When it comes to pithy takedowns of Sarkozy, Goldhammer’s actually been on quite a roll lately. I didn’t watch Sarkozy’s speech, but this rang visually true:
Sarkozy may have thought that speaking to a joint session of theAssembly and Senate — “the Congress” — at Versailles would magnify hisomnipotence, raising him to the level of the Sun King. Instead it hadthe effect of dwarfing him. As he ambled with his distinctive gait downthe long haie d’honneur ofRepublican Guards, he seemed oddly small, and incongruous in hisbusiness suit, not quite the attire for a 17th-c. palace of grandiosity.
But my favorite was this:
[T]he thought of retirement might also trouble him a bit: he can’t reallyexpect Mme Sarkozy to stick around when he no longer has at hisdisposal the world’s most potent aphrodisiac, as power has been called.
Ouch. But, I suspect, true. If Sarkozy does run for a second term, it will be because of just that.