Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni got married over the weekend. The fact that she is an Italian ex-top-model-glamorous-pop-singer and that he got divorced from his other wife a mere three months ago wouldn’t be any big deal if it weren’t for the fact that he is the President of France. I mean, come on! Ça ne se fait pas! It just isn’t done. Even in France. It’s not that people are shocked (although many are), it’s that here it is considered the height of bad taste to discuss one’s private life in public. Sarkozy has been living his private life in public. For months, we have been treated to magazine covers, TV reports, and newspaper articles on the successive episodes of the presidential soap opera. The part I love is when the press decides that this is merely an example of how Sarkozy has adopted American presidential behavior. I think French reporters have been watching too many episodes of Desperate Housewives. Can anyone imagine what would happen in the US if a president not only divorced his wife while he was still in office, but then went and married a younger, beautiful pop star three months later? There would be a rash of moral apoplexy that would clog hospitals and mental asylums across the country. The world would cease to turn. Pundits would appear on talk shows discussing the coming of the apocalypse. It’s simply unthinkable.
It’s not just Sarkozy’s personal life that is making him sink in the polls, it’s his bizarre tendency to careen around various ideas and policy issues with the same manic energy as he careens around the world making state visits. One day he’s signing juicy contracts with Qadaffi, the next he’s telling the pope that France needs to get religious. I think it was his comments on the Church that really sent people over the edge. Secularism is almost a religion in this country, and any attempt to mix in Christianity with government awakens the revolutionary fervor that lurks not too deep in the French collective soul. If he keeps this up they’ll be storming the Bastille Opera sometime soon.
The marriage was conducted in private, mercifully, and the public was informed after it was over on the evening news. Two questions immediately popped into my mind: 1) will the marriage last his term of office? and 2) when’s the baby due?