The French media have been obsessing over the U.S. presidential election for months. And while this morning the headlines are focused on Sarkozy's trip to Syria and the growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the nomination of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate is right up there. (And I take it that she gave a rock'em sock'em speech at the Republican convention in Minnesota last night.) So just what do the French make of this?
Well, after spending a lot of time perusing Le Monde, Le Figaro, Liberation, and bunch of blogs (this after spending way too much time reading the Washington Post and the New York Times), my only conclusion is that they don't know what to think. Europeans in general have been so excited about the prospect of Obama becoming president that they seemed to have forgotten that he hasn't yet been elected. The tone overall is one of shock and not so much over Palin's qualifications and any skeletons she might have in her closet. The sense of incredulity is more around the paradox that although George Bush has lost the confidence of the American people, his political base still has power both within the Republican party and in the nation at large. To Americans like myself who are beyond ready for a change, this is scary but not really shocking. It's definitely going to be an interesting couple of months.