For the night of the presidential election results, Debbie and I positioned ourselves at Hotel Le Bristol (see Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris), literally an eight iron shot from the front door of the Elysee Palace, the presidential residence. It was an exciting time to be in Paris, despite the unpleasant election results. But I learned something interesting: Sarkozy did himself little good in the last couple of years, and the French just could not get fired up enough to send him back for a second, unwarranted term. As for Socialist victor Mr. Hollande, a big yawn is in place. In that everyone and their uncle work for some government agency, most of the French are not going to get too lathered up by a boring fellow who is not going to get a lot done. When I suggest that putting Mr. Hollande in place may not be the best idea for the competitiveness of France, I’m asked if such is not exactly the same thing Americans face with President Obama.
It is indeed terrifying to think that the gentleman who has presided over America’s lost AAA bond rating could possibly be voted back in. Who in their right mind would vote for this guy? Do Americans look at employment (or lack thereof) statistics? How about home forclosures? How about the ongoing goat rope in Afghanistan, the farce of Mr.Bernake’s artificial interest rate environment, or the joke of Mexican border security? And that’s before we even touch upon two ghastly Supreme Court confirmations. And I’ll tell you what, give Barack Obama another shot or two at the Supreme Court and you can kiss the Second Amendment goodbye. If for a second you think not, you are not keeping current on what this administration is up to.
One of the many reasons Debbie and I decided a few years ago to set Paris as our international base is to better monitor international opinion about what is going on in America. Paris is the dominant city in the world for sophisticated high-end travelers. The wide breadth of international visitors offers no end of opportunities when it comes to opinions from folk who most definitely have an ax to grind. Mr. Hollande’s election has not been well received by the international business people I have spoken with, but as noted earlier, Mr. Hollande is treated with a yawn. On the subject of a return to office for President Obama, that usually elicits “you must be kidding” commentary. I have plenty to tell you about this trip’s research, and in upcoming installments of this series will share with you many useful tips on setting up a base in Paris as well as travelling and investing in France. I made three moves on our recent trip and will explain in detail in my next installment of WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS.