IN OTHER WORDS
Recent events in France invert a 60s-era slogan that the personal is the political. The defeated Socialist Party candidate for president, Ségolène Royal, recently acknowledged that she had separated from François Hollande, her civil-union partner and father of their four children — and that she would seek to supplant him as Socialist Party leader. Now that the truth is known about the simultaneous political and private conflicts between Royal and Hollande, inescapable questions are being raised about the deceits they practiced. Candidate Royal told the press that they had considered marrying last summer in a romantic ceremony on French Polynesia. And perhaps to send a subliminal signal, Royal was seen wearing a wedding ring at one point.
If this were a Molière play, the audience at the Comédie-Française would be wreathed in wry smiles. It may be that no comedy in the classical tradition is possible without disguise and deception, but an electoral campaign to determine who is to govern France should abide by other rules. It is true that a politician’s private life should not be taken as an indicator of his or her ability to conduct affairs of state. But voters do not like to be lied to — neither by politicians nor by the journalists who cover them. Not in America and not in France. — The Boston Globe