Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bush Wins Either Way!: François Baroin on the European “Constitution”

Last week, in “The European Constitution as American Plot”, I discussed the twisted idea circulating on parts of the French “Left” according to which the proposed EU “constitution” should be rejected inasmuch as...“too American”. I illustrated the discussion with a sticker from a generic leftist grouping that reads: “I want a Europe independent of Bush, I vote ‘no’ to the Constitutional Treaty”.

Not to be outdone, François Baroin, a prominent member of a somewhat less non-descript formation of the French “Right” – namely, Jacques Chirac’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) – and a partisan of a “yes” vote, had this to say in yesterday’s Le Figaro [link in French]:
Who is going to be happiest about a victory of the “no” vote in France? Le Pen? [French Socialist critic of the “constitution” Laurent] Fabius? Villiers? [Communist Party Chief Marie-George] Buffet? No. It’s Bush. To say “no” to the Constitution is to say “yes” to Bush.
It is interesting to see Philippe de Villiers in Baroin’s list, since the founder of the “euro-sceptical” “Movement for France” is perhaps the most prominent “rightist” voice to reject the “constitution” as a form of “vassalage” to the United States. The term “vassalage” will no doubt be richer in historical connotations for the aristocratic de Villiers – his full name is the Viscount Philippe Le Jolis de Villiers de Saintignon – than for the lefty youth who can be presumed to have plastered the streets of Paris with the less-than-elegant sticker. Nonetheless, the idea is much the same.

François Baroin was, incidentally, an advisor to Jacques Chirac’s 2002 presidential campaign. From February 2003 to April 2004, he was the UMP spokesperson. (For these and other biographical details, see here.) He is currently one of two “Political Advisors” in the UMP hierarchy, reporting, according to the UMP organigram, directly to current UMP President Nicolas Sarkozy. (Sarkozy should not, however, be presumed to share his views in the present connection).

The article from Le Figaro begins by citing an un-named source who is described as “close to the President of the Republic”: "We need to change gears. The 'no' is gaining ground using simple arguments. The 'yes' needs to do the same."

François Baroin perhaps?

And one more question: Does one win elections in France nowadays by showing contempt for the French people?