ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Father of the EU Constitution: "What Me Worry?!"

This article in the NY Times is just great... for its insight into the thinking of the EU bureaucrats. Truly amazing.

European Charter Architect Faults Chirac for Its Rejection
Published: June 15, 2005

PARIS, June 14 - As the architect of the European Union constitution, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing seemed at the top of his game, praised as "the Mozart of politics" and poised to go down in history as the founding father of a new Europe.

Only two months ago, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing, a former French president, called the constitution "as perfect as, perhaps less elegant than, the Constitution of the United States of America." Ratification by member countries was supposed to have been easy, and Mr. Giscard d'Estaing, now 79, might even have been asked to become the first president of the entire the 25-country bloc.
As perfect, except for the fact that it was 3,000 pages... Yeah, that's GOT to be just as good as the US Constitution which deals with specific founding principles instead of individual issues best handled through the legislative process

But now that his countrymen have rejected the constitution, setting off declarations that it is doomed, he assigns blame not to himself or his document, but largely to the man who currently inhabits Élysée Palace: President Jacques Chirac.
This tactic is also known as the Wookie or Chewbacca Defense:

"This is Chewbacca. Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now why would an 8-foot tall wookie wanna live on a planet with a bunch of 3-foot tall Ewoks? Why, I tell you why: because it doesn't make sense, that's why. So when you go into that jury room, I want you to think about your answer, about Chewbacca. And ask yourself, 'Does my vote make sense?'" - Johnnie Cochran on SouthPark

"This was not a vote on the constitution," Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said in his first interview since the French rejected it in a referendum last month. "That is the key point that has been missed by the political leaders, because political leaders don't normally like to say that the vote could have been against them."

Speaking in English in the library of his Paris home, he added, "The French message was, 'We want change in our political leadership.' "

They want change b/c they saw the EU Constitution as a giveaway to those "rabid capitalists" across the Channel. Of course, the UK is just slightly less socialist than the Continent, but that's alright from where I'm sitting here in the US (at least until Downer's crowd gets into power).

A crucial turning point for the fate of the constitution in France came last March, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said, when he phoned Mr. Chirac to warn him not to send the entire three-part, 448-article document to every French voter. The third and longest part consisted only of complicated treaties that have already been in force for years.

He said Mr. Chirac refused, citing legal reasons. "I said, 'Don't do it, don't do it,' " Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said. "It is not possible for anyone to understand the full text."

Ahh, the "Voters are Stupid" argument that's apparently not only popular in France but in the US, as well!

There is no indication that the French would have voted any differently had they decided on only the new document. In retrospect, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said the Parliament should have ratified the constitution, even though he said he previously endorsed Mr. Chirac's decision to put it to a referendum.

And here is where d'Estaing's true preference comes out. We shouldn't let the people decide (they're stupid, rememeber?). Let's just let the National Assembly rubber stamp this puppy and screw the opinions of the people on the political system that they'll live under!

Still, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said that until the end he believed the French people would vote "yes," and pointedly criticized them. "I thought at the end the French people would be rational people," he said.

"But they're just too stupid, apparently. Like Bush voters in the US"

The blame spreads even further.

He also said that, had the European Union leaders not left open the possibility of full membership for Turkey in their bloc, the constitution probably would have passed in France. Mr. Giscard d'Estaing is a fierce opponent of membership for Turkey, arguing that it is not part of Europe and deserves only a lesser partnership status.

"I mean, the Turks are fine and all for running German factories and doing the menial labor in Europe. But, dear God, man... You don't expect us to give those barbarians full membership!?!?!
In a Louis Harris poll published two days after the referendum, however, only 22 percent of the "no" voters said that among their reasons was opposition to Turkey's entry into the European Union. The issue of Turkey was more important in the decision of Dutch voters to reject the constitution in their own referendum three days after the French vote.

Despite declarations throughout Europe that the constitution is dead, because all 25 member countries of the European Union must ratify it, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing is convinced that it will succeed eventually.

What Me Worry?!?
He said the ratification process should continue across Europe, and envisions a sequence of events in which most members pass what he referred to at one point as "my document." "In the end, it will pass," he added. "There is no better solution."


His rosy analysis, he insists, has nothing to do with his legacy, which certainly has been burnished since his experience as the president of the constitutional convention.

In 2003, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing was inducted as an "Immortal" into the august Académie Française. Earlier this year, he bought a 15th-century chateau in a small French village named Estaing, helping to solidify his family's tenuous claim to nobility.

But he admits disappointment that his constitution has been rejected. "I wasn't hurt; I wasn't humiliated," he said of the French vote. He added, "I was deprived of a cause for happiness."

How.... "French." Based on this delusion, I have to say that the EU will NEVER be the full, integrated political entity that it was envisioned to be. At least not with guys like d'Estaing and the Brussels/Strasbourg bureaucrats running the show.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler