Article by Eric Margolis.
PARIS – This week, the big buzz for “le tout Paris” (all Paris) – at least until Sunday’s “le grand bombshell” – was that President Nicholas Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni were boycotting the Cannes Film Festival which just opened with the film, Le Conquest (The Conquest).
No wonder. This acid film is all about how a short, pushy, outsider in elevator heels ruthlessly clawing his way to the top of France’s political establishment. It’s fiction, but you have to be from Uranus not to know this celluloid hatchet job is all about Sarko and his exquisite wife Carla – who, at 43, is rumored to be pregnant, just in time for next year’s presidential elections.
Carla Bruni’s no-show is even more dramatic since she has a role in Woody Allen’s new film, Midnight in Paris, which opens with great fanfare at Cannes. In France, politics and film are inseparable.
The British press, which passionately loathes France, is having a field day running nasty stories about the film and circulating ugly rumors about Carla, who has never been renowned for fidelity or constancy.
However, while this springtime folderol went on, a political bombshell of staggering power exploded in New York City.
An April poll showed Socialist bigwig Dominique Strauss-Kahn running ahead of Sarkozy at 30%, followed by far-right National Front leader Marine LePen at 21%, and, sacré bleu! Sarko trailing at 19% in a first round of the two-part vote. Strauss-Kahn would then wallop Sarkozy in the second round vote.
Strauss-Kahn was expected to step down shortly as head of the International Monetary Fund and announce his run for president. He is expected to easily beat out the other truly boring Socialist contenders for the nomination: Francois Hollande, Martine Aubry, and Segolene Royal.
However, if Strauss had decided to stay in his cushy IMF job, Sarkozy would likely have whipped these weak Socialist candidates who are furiously squabbling among themselves and are bereft of public respect.
France’s hardcore left was not happy with Strauss-Kahn, known to all as DSK. A millionaire with a four million euro Paris penthouse and 140,000 euro Porche, DSK is lambasted by leftists as a champagne Socialist and establishment fat cat – which he certainly is.
France’s sullen anti-business, anti-globalization left had to decide whether it wanted ideological purity or a candidate who could beat Sarkozy – who, of course was praying every night that DSK won’t run.
Sarko’s prayers, or Carla’s Italian witchcraft, were amazingly answered this past Sunday in New York City.