Sarkozy Is France's Bush

Seeking to leave stamp on everything, Sarko polarizes and weakens French democracy
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Dec 9, 2008 3:20 PM CST
French President Nicholas Sarkozy waves as he arrives in 10 Downing Street in London, Monday, Dec. 8, 2008 for a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, unseen.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy had what seemed like the vitality to jolt a languid France, writes Ullrich Fichtner in Der Spiegel; it turns out to be an invasive need to be the “Omni-President.” Sarko has inserted himself into every issue, from Alzheimer’s to Tibet, giving speeches, addressing the UN, and meeting with a long list of world leaders. He’s shaken the pillars of democracy, harassing opponents and dominating the supposedly independent cabinet.

In the process, he’s divided the country bitterly. “A brutalization of political discourse is underway, as if Sarkozy and his team had taken pointers from US President George W. Bush. Their creed, like Bush's, is simple: Whoever is not with us must be against us,” writes Fichtner. And with no credibly organized opposition in sight, “Sarkozy has little to fear.”