From The New York Times
By Elaine Sciolino
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THE French — on the right and on the left — have embraced the news that President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Cécilia, have divorced with a surprising amount of sang-froid and a collective shrug.
It’s partly that the French no longer treat marriage as a particularly sacred institution. The marriage rate here has plunged more than 30 percent in the past generation, and nearly one out of two marriages end in divorce. It’s also that the French still seem to think that if Mr. Sarkozy is roaming the Élysée Palace all alone, it’s nobody’s business but his own.
According to a poll conducted after the news broke on Thursday, 79 percent declared Le Divorce of “little or no importance” in the country’s political life. A whopping 92 percent of the more than 800 people polled said that the divorce did not change their opinion of their president.
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We ran a Dish (October 18) on this split last week. It looks like Sarkozy and his now ex-wife have been on the skids before. It’s said that an American politician can’t get elected unless he/she is married. And a Hollywood star needs to be married to gain box office appeal. We wonder if either one is true. It is definitely true that we like hearing all the sordid, tabloid details. Why do we think that a married guy is more stable? Sure, a guy with a wife and kids is probably less likely to go on a five-day Vegas bender. But is simply being married a legitimate virtue? Is there really much of a chance of Nicolas Sarkozy going hog wild in Monaco and selling Cannes to Italy? Sure, Bill Clinton may have picked up the clap or at least a rash, had he been single, but he's exceptional. The political (or business) marriage is only a good thing if the spouses are collaborative. An estranged spouse that stays together for the sake of the nation may be doing more harm than good.