Sarkotic: the many gaffes of France’s number 1 clown
By Saket Kumar
It’s no surprise that a country as obsessed with surfaces as France is mired in an election centred purely on appearances – arguably more so than even the United States.
In the red corner we have the enthusiastically bland “Marshmallow Man,” a slow-but-steady liberal whose vanilla quality is an aesthetic in itself. Sure, he might put himself out there in a way that makes him look weak, but the nice-but-dull public face is a smart move.
His main opponent, after all, has built an entire political career on Le Look, and not much else. Whether he’s sauntering around the red carpet with his supermodel girlfriend or cherry-picking pint-sized lackies to make him look taller in his press snaps, Sarkozy’s never focused on substance.
Memories of his disastrous attempt to bat off a difficult question from a Parisian journalist about racist comments he made at a rally have come flooding back into the national conference. Meanwhile Twitter and YouTube are awash with yet more accounts of his gaffes, the main highlight being an afternoon press conference in Russia, where he was too out of his head to answer any questions coherently. Too much vodka at lunch and no water on the table to wash it down, the story goes.
Then there was his catastrophic response to Remy Salvat, a young man who penned a letter to Sarkozy, requesting the right to commit euthanasia. He’d suffered from an obscure, agonizing disease since the age of six, claimed he had become “a prisoner of his own body” and wanted to die with some dignity.
Sarko, who desperately wanted to keep the Catholic voters on his side, and blissfully unaware of the imminent child abuse scandal, fired off an unsympathetic response saying in short that, no, he couldn’t end his own life.
Salvat took an overdose of drugs that put him to sleep for good anyway, and within a matter of hours his body had been dragged into the nearest police station for examination, and his family treated as criminals, because the law didn’t recognize what he’d done as legal. The French, to say the least, were not best pleased with how the situation was handled.
In short, Hollande’s pledge to offer the polar opposite of Sarko-ism, namely a the blunt yet potent fist of righteousness, has no doubt sounded like an attractive offer to our cousins across the Channel.
That just leaves a small proportion of voters clinging on to the Sarkozy idol, who never wanted anything more than hot air anyway- as well as a staggeringly high number of people who voted for Marine LePenn, whose opinion isn’t worth the paper this is printed on.