I cringed when I heard Sarah Palin suggest that human activity might be to blame for so-called global warming in her ABC News interview with Charlie Gibson last week. The Republican VP nominee's claim instantly conjured up images of French President Nicolas Sarkozy breaking many of the pledges he boldly made during the presidential election campaign here in France in early 2007. As I watched Sarah Palin’s cut-and-thrust with the MSM (via the Internet here in France), I seriously wondered for one moment whether her remark was not yet another example of a politician saying one thing and doing another, once in office or on his or her way there.
Forgive my sensitivity. After all, we, American-inspired French conservatives, who have been gullible enough to believe that France might ever become anything other than a stronghold of socialism, have had our fair share of rude awakenings since the days of Turgot, Tocqueville, Jean-Baptiste Say, and Frederic Bastiat.
Consider the latest wakeup call. As candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy straight-facedly promised to reform France along clear-cut free-market principles. Granted, since then, he has cut some taxes in an effort to boost investment and stimulate growth and made moves to dispel the notion that the work ethic is a dirty word.
However, where are the cuts in welfare spending that should have gone hand in hand with the tax changes? Instead, the entitlement mentality is still the cultural norm, and President Sarkozy has been busy implementing his very own brand of Robin Hood economics, robbing hard-working, hard-saving, law-abiding citizens not only to pay for his Al Gore-certified green revolution but also to bribe loafers and welfare queens to get back to work:
** He has approved green taxes on anything from cars, home appliances, and flat-screen TVs to computers, number crunchers for school children and even plastic cutlery used in barbecues and other outdoor meals;
** He has “asked” Total, France’s biggest oil company, to make a $312-million contribution to the French Treasury to help those who can’t afford it pay for nest winter’s heating bills following last summer’s rise in oil prices;
** Worst of all, he has just slapped a new 1.1% new tax on capital gains and other investment to fund a back-to-work program, all in the name of solidarity, a code word for socialistic wealth transfers here in France.
The list goes on. Bottom line? While Sarkozy's approval ratings have been edging up, France’s GDP growth in this year’s second quarter plummeted to –0.3%. Another batch of taxes and France will technically be in a recession by next quarter.
So please, Mrs. Palin, however morale-boosting your selection as John McCain’s running mate might justifiably be, forget about man-made global what-do-you-call-it and let us hear you talk consistently about free enterprise, traditional values and strong national defense.
Let us see you walk the wholeheartedly conservative walk all the way to victory on Nov. 4 -- and from there to the Oval Office in 2012.