There’s a little love triangle happenin’ at the Elysées, and by Elysées I mean Champs Elysées, and by Champs Elysées I mean the President’s Palace.
Now, I’m the last person to report on anything of a political nature, but some of you might have heard some rumblings about a guy by the name of François Hollande, who ousted some guy by the name of Nicholas Sarkozy from the French presidency by a 2% margin – the first Socialist president to win since Mitterand won in the 1980′s. It’s rare that an incumbent doesn’t retain the office and probably shows some dissatisfaction over the austerity measures Germany is pushing through the EU to try to save the European economy from crashing.
Measures I find to be rather sensible, by the way – you go over your budget, you cinch your belt, right?
I kind of liked Sarkozy. I mean he was unwise – completely. He constantly had his foot in his mouth over something he either said publicly or was inadvertently overheard saying. During the time of the riots a couple of years back, he called the protestors from a disadvantaged background the “rabble.” He was also fond of showing himself in glamorous settings, enjoying a nice yacht trip with his beautiful wife while the sun set and the unemployment rose.
Speaking of beautiful wives, his own Carla Bruni was an Italian national … can you imagine an American president marrying a foreigner? While in office? His former wife left him just as he entered the presidency and within a year he had taken this tall gorgeous singer/model with a seductive Italian accent into his presidential chambers in a glittery wedding by French standards. They were also the first couple to grace the palace with a baby.
There is this political puppet show that is very famous here in France; I used to watch it even back in 1994 when I lived in Paris. It’s called “Les Guignoles des Infos” – the Puppets of the News. They do hilarious and rather accurate depictions of the current events for about five minutes every day before the actual news starts. The puppets are almost life-sized and are startling and humorous in their likeness to the original.
They always used to show Sarkozy, who is rather short, literally jumping up and down trying to get everyone to pay attention to him: “Hey guys – look at me! Look at me!” That was before he became president, and even the irreverent Guignole writers thought that enough was enough.
But he did always have this reputation for boundless energy, and for being a bit of a show-off. In 1993 there was a hostage situation in a kindergarten located in the city of Neuilly-sur-Seine that lasted for two days. Sarkozy was the mayor of the city at the time, and he stormed directly into the hostage situation where he was filmed walking out carrying a child under his arm. He was also criticized for effectively putting an end to the negotiations, but the guy got stuff done.
So this Guignoles des Infos, which showed him bouncing up and down like an eager puppy (and which also portrays nearly every American male with Sylvester Stallone puppets and voices), this news show had the puppet for Hollande appearing to be rather dumb. He was always shown with a vacant expression on his face and a long drawn-out “uuuh” before he managed to formulate a response to whatever question he was being asked.
This Hollande that I had come to ridicule and love on the Guignoles made it rather difficult for me to see him in any other light, especially in a presidential light. And yet he won.
And even though Hollande had taken for himself a very beautiful woman as his companion, he promised the République that he would he keep his private life private. No loyal citizens would witness him flaunting his personal life in such a flashy vulgar way as S—. I mean, let’s start acting presidential here.
Except (chuckle) Hollande had four children with this chick named Ségolene Royal who had separated from him just around the time she had gone against Sarkozy in the presidency in 2007. And lost. And in a bitter twist of fate, she finds that her ex companion (who didn’t have high enough aspirations?) is actually the one who was able to beat Sarkozy.
Ségolene, undeterred, was still interested in continuing her political career and was vying for the legislative seat in the region of Poitou-Charentes (the region of cantaloupe). She was guaranteed the support of her ex who now carried weight as the president of France. And in spite of this, her opponent Olivier Falorni, of the same party, mind you, refused to desist from his campaign. So the party was effectively divided.
Now Hollande has this beautiful girlfriend (all French politicians seem to have one) named Valérie Trierweiler who is very good friends with Falorni. And at the same time there had been reported tension between Hollande’s current – Valérie, and Hollande’s ex – Ségolene.
His ex didn’t show up at his swearing-in for office, which many took to be a sign of bad grace, when in fact it was because his current flame was not keen on being snuffed out. At his first flush of victory, he and Ségolene exchanged an affectionate congratulations, which led to an overheard demand on Valérie’s part that he now kiss her on the lips in plain view of everyone.
So there was already drama goin’ on, and that was one of the things that Hollande had promised everyone there would be none of.
And then the event that is now called, “tweetgate” happened. While Hollande was writing a snail-mail letter with actual pen and paper showing his support for Ségolene, Trierweiler was simultaneously sending a tweet into the universe giving her support of Falorni!
So now a bitter competition is happening for the legislative seat in La Rochelle between Royal and Falorni in what is known as “The War of the Roses.”
And I must assume an equally bitter feud is happening in the presidential suite on the Elysées.