Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Rape of Europa


Daniel Cohn-Bendit knows his mythology. He deplores the effect of what he calls the "presidentialization" of French institutions on the European elections, which have become, for some, a "sanction vote" against Sarkozy, for others, a training ground for a future presidential campaign and chance to buff their personal images as présidentiables.

It may well be that the French presidential regime has become "the disease of which it purports to be the cure" (as Karl Kraus said of psychoanalysis). It was intended to substitute order and authority for chaotic party bickering and pettiness, but it has drained the legislative process of substance, turned parties into baskets of crabs seeking to put a piece of the presidency in their pincers, and made it impossible to debate any issue without reference to its bearing on the current presidency and potential to define the race for succession.