What's the most pressured moment for an American president? Sure, there's avoiding World War III, keeping us safe from terrorists, and wrangling with Congress over big issues like taxes and health care. But the real moment of truth is when he has to throw out the first pitch at a major league baseball game. I guess Barack Obama did okay when he took on the task at the All Star game a couple of weeks ago because all the press was about the cut of his jeans and nobody said anything about his throwing style. (But then again I don't watch Fox News so maybe someone did.)
While Americans really want their president to be a regular guy, the French, by contrast, want someone cultured, intellectual, and able to make astute references to history, philosophy, and art, and throw in the occasional quote from Moliere, Sartre, and other giants of France's glorious past. Although they elected Nicholas Sarkozy in 2007, a man with none of these qualities, Sarkozy's recent miserable poll numbers suggest that they're regretting that decision. With three long years until the next election, there may be time for Sarkozy to refashion himself as an intellectual. His Henry Higgins? None other than his wife, former fashion model and pop star, Carla Bruni. You can read all about it in an interesting article that appeared over the weekend in the International Herald Tribune .