No one really knows who will be the French president by this time next year. The French haven't been keen to elect a Socialist to the highest office since Francois Mitterrand in 1988, and polls strongly suggest that they aren't now. If anything, they'd be voting against Nicolas Sarkozy, whose ideas and promises they like, although they often fail in their transformation from hot air to something tangible. The French are also tired of the near-weekly "casseroles," as they call the regular scandals involving the Sarkozy entourage. But they don't seem to want National Front leader Marine Le Pen either -- a nationalist and nanny-state socialist who has proclaimed Obama to be more right-wing than she is and whose platform has gradually revealed an aversion to free-market principles. Ms. Le Pen blames the world's problems on capitalism rather than heavy-handed government meddling and believes the solution is more government intervention. That leaves the Socialists in a shocking position of being a viable alternative, if only because the bar has been brought down to ground level. If President Sarkozy's ratings remain low, and the ruling party ultimately decides to replace him, the current dynamics might change quickly.