The French Rejection

The French Rejection

The French Rejection

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
May 31 2005 5:02 PM

The French Rejection

Bloggers are analyzing the French "no" vote on the EU constitution and weighing in on the Bush administration's reaction to an Amnesty International report calling for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. They are also largely bored * by the outing of Deep Throat.

The French rejection: Repercussions are coming rapidement from France's "no" vote on the EU constitution. The euro is down 1 percent, and French President Jacques Chirac has ousted Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin in favor of Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin.

Rachael Larimore Rachael Larimore

Rachael Larimore is the online managing editor of the Weekly Standard and a former Slate senior editor.

At Discord and Elaboration, Ph.D. student Bill Petti puts it mildly when he says, "Chirac certainly has some PR work ahead of him internationally." Posting at TPMCafe—a new companion site to Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo—liberal Matthew Yglesias offers a reasoned analysis: "The upshot is that further European integration, if there is any, will take place in a much more conventionally 'political' way, through oppositional public controversy rather than through an elite bargaining process. Ultimately, that may simply mean no further integration. My guess, however, is that it will resume soon enough."

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At the Huffington Post, former Kennedy School Dean Joseph Nye says, "The consitution was not a great document, and it was sunk by a populist revolt of the left and right against the middle. While some on the left complained that the consitution was too 'liberal' (read free market oriented in American terminology), French friends told me that much of the vote was a protest against Jacques Chirac, as well as the arrogance of the political class." Right-leaning Libertarian talk-radio host Neal Boortz mocks the 35-hour French workweek, writing: "To many French workers, the new EU constitution represented something very dangerous to them. A loss of government workplace protection rules. My God! They might actually have to work more hours to make a living!" Meanwhile, Right Ho!, the anonymous blog of a conservative journalist, criticizes the selection of de Villepin, who, as foreign minister worked to prevent the U.S. invasion of Iraq. "Just as tensions between France and the U.S. were starting to cool off, the temperature is about to rise again. ... Chirac couldn't have made a worse choice."

Read more blog posts about the French vote here and Slate's coverage here.

Amnesty denied: Amnesty International's report of detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay has faced a chilly reception from the Bush administration. In a CNN interview, Vice President Dick Cheney said he was offended by the report, which compared the detention facility to a "gulag" and claimed prisoner mistreatment. In a press conference today, Bush himself called the report "absurd."

Mike at liberal Warning Track is unsurprised. "Well, Cheney never did have a real firm grasp of the importance of truth-telling. Still, I guess that means he doesn't believe it to be a violation of human rights to hold and interrogate prisoners for several years without treating them as POWs (which would entitle them to Geneva convention status) or charging them as criminals (which would give them the right to a trial)."

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Libertarian Jonathan Leffingwell at Crush Liberalism offers a rebuttal in the form of feigned shock: "How dare he insinuate that Islamofascists are lying! The nerve! Just because the al Qaeda training manual mentions using lies to manipulate world opinion doesn't mean that these poor terrorists actually do it! I mean, from Baghdad Bob to Saddam Hussein to Syrian big cheese Assad to the worm food known as Yasser Arafat, we've seen Muslim leaders lie without shame for decades now ... but that doesn't mean that Islamic terrorists will lie! ... Amnesty never met a hard luck story (even a fake one) it couldn't bleed its heart over."

Read more about the Amnesty International report.

Deep thoughts: The blogosphere let out a collective shoulder shrug to the news that Vanity Fair has identified  W. Mark Felt, the 91-year-old former assistant FBI director, as Watergate's Deep Throat. Many bloggers link to and/or excerpt the article but offer no commentary. Titling his post, "I'm Surprised it Wasn't Geraldo Making the Announcement on Live TV," Matt Welch of Reason's Hit & Run calls it "one of the biggest let-downs in the history of hype." Gienna, a writer and photographer living in Massachusetts, writes, "I have to say I'm disappointed. There were so many more interesting possibilities."

Read more blog posts about Deep Throat; read Slate's "archive of speculation" here.

Correction, June 2: The article originally and incorrectly stated that bloggers were nonplussed by the outing of Deep Throat. Nonplussed means perplexed or bewildered. (Return  to the corrected sentence.)