It's crunch time in the republique. And if the polls are to be believed, Sarkozy is solidifying his lead over Royal. I, myself, do not put much stock in pre-election polls unless they show overwhelming support for one candidate, over another. The only one that counts will be Sunday's poll.
One thing is plain for all to see. As it is in America, so it is in France. Presidential elections usually end up being popularity contests. The goal is to make yourself look good, while making your opponent look bad. And from what I have been reading of late, it sounds like Royal is making Sarkozy's job easier.
More than anything, both candidates sound like they could head up the two major parties here in the U.S. Sarkozy is nothing more than a French Republican and Royal, a French Democrat. Their ideologies are strikingly similar. One wants to create business opportunities, the other wants to promise the world to get elected, whether it's doable or not.
What the French must do is decide whether or not they want to continue to travel down the same path, albeit more forcefully. They must decide if it's a shift more towards free market and a better relationship with the American government, or a straight path towards more government intervention that results in more regulation and bureaucracy (and a more contentious relationship with Washington).
But rest assured, I do not expect that if Sarkozy is elected, he will immediately proclaim all of the foreign policies of the Chirac regime to be null and void. I cannot believe that he will immediately send troops to Iraq either. And I think it's a very safe bet, he won't be toasting George Bush in Paris, anytime too soon.
But I do expect that the undermining and the sniping behind our backs will slow considerably. I would realistically expect that Sarkozy will continue the true Gaullist tradition of being independent and not in the pocket of anyone, but France. I cannot fathom that he will sell out to America, just because he wants better relations.
If Royal gets elected, not much will change in the way of foreign policy, we can count on that. In fact, it may get a bit colder than it already is. This will especially be the case if Madame Royal decides that it would be in the republique's best interest to attend more photo-ops with Hezbollah leaders.