Friday, May 04, 2007

Fred Hiatt Needs A Full Time Fact Checker

In today's editorial saying that Nicolas Sarkozy is the way to go for France in the upcoming election, Hiatt tries to show his mad skills by noting some personal background on the candidate.
If Washington is quietly rooting for Mr. Sarkozy, who has a slight lead in the polls, it is not alone. The 52-year-old Hungarian-born rightist would be a natural partner for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the likely new British prime minister, Gordon Brown, both of whom want to strengthen economic and strategic ties between Europe and the United States.

The only problem is that Sarkozy was born in France to a Hungarian immigrant father, and a Jewish French mother. But, other than that Hiatt had the details correct.

The other quibble I have is that the "anti-americanism" that we see in the world today really is more anti-Bush, and by referral anti Washington Post editorial board. Bill Clinton was a rock star in the rest of the world. They loved him, they loved America. Picking a candidate who wants to work nicely with Bush, when "the decider" or as he is now known as "the commander guy" really is not an indication of long term stability.

If we get a president in 2008 who plays nicely with others in the sandbox, almost all of the leaders of the world are going to play nicely with him. Hiatt does note for the record, to his credit, that Sarkozy has a serious problem with the muslim community in France.
Mr. Sarkozy's greatest weakness is his poisonous relations with France's Muslims, including the millions of poor who are isolated in grim suburbs around Paris and other big cities. In another break from French political orthodoxy, Mr. Sarkozy has advocated affirmative action measures to help poor minority youths get educations and jobs. But his tough response to rioting in the slums -- he talked about cleaning up "scum" with a power hose -- has made him a hated figure for many young Muslims. Some fear he would be greeted by new unrest early in his term.

That seems to be a wee bit of a problem. A jewish politician in a country with an exploding young unemployed muslim population who thinks they are scum and wants to go Bull Connor on them may not lead to a stable society.

I don't know enough about either candidate to really say what is best for France. Neither does Hiatt and the Post editorial board, but that doesn't ever stop him.