Royal pain

Over the weekend I concluded that Segolene Royal, the Socialist candidate for president, has virtually no chance of being elected. It was bad enough that my French wife, who leans Socialist, has decided to vote for Royal’s main opponent, Nicholas Sarkozy of the ruling center-right party. But on Saturday a hard-left French friend told me that he too will vote for Sarkozy. His reasoning was straightforward: (1) Royal (who has committed a series of gaffes since obtaining her party’s nomination) is not fit to lead France and (2) voting for another leftist, as he often does, carries too much risk of putting the far-right racist Le Pen into the run-off, as happened last time.
Royal also realizes she’s in trouble. She has responded by proposing what the International Herald Tribune calls a “far-left economic campaign platform.” That platform includes pledges to raise pensions, to increase the minimum wage to

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