MARSEILLE--They love Obama, the Frenchies do. This portrait, by a local artist named Françoise Nielly, hangs in the lobby of our self-consciously artsy hotel (the New Hotel Vieux Port de Marseille). What they don't understand, though, is the bizarre Electoral College system of voting, that it's not really a national plebiscite. Nor do they understand the potential for voter suppression by partisan election officials. Fortunately, neithrr of these bits of arcana, of policy wonkdom, made any difference.
One of the Italian tour operators at the travel-industry trade show taking place here this week complained (nothing new) about the tendency of Americans to elect right-wing candidates. "You mean like Mussolini? Like Berlusconi?" Fact is, our process isn't perfect, and but our government more often than not ends up more centrist than extremist.
And for all the posturing, France still doesn't have same-sex marriage. What they have instead is the civil union, the PACS, Pacte Civil de Solidarité, but not marriage. Opposition from the usual sources. Washington State ahead of France on a social issue! Who'd have imagined it?