Saturday, May 05, 2007

The big news in Europe is tomorrow's French presidential runoff election; all the surveys show Sarkozy winning with between 53% and 55% of the vote.

Royal knows she is going to lose, and so hit the panic button yesterday with some nasty Angry Left ranting against Sarko. Royal said Sarkozy was "a risk for France," "a danger to the unity of the Republic and for social peace," and "a threat to democracy."

She added, "It is my responsibility to send out an alert about the risk of (Sarkozy's) candidacy in relation with the violence and the brutality that will be touched off in the country. Everyone knows it but nobody says it; it's a sort of taboo." An interviewer asked her, "So it's you or chaos." Royal answered, "I didn't say that, but it's true." She continued, "There will be severe tensions in the country, because he has multiplied his provocations and his verbal violence, especially toward "popular" neighborhoods."

Furthermore, Royal claimed that her poor showing in the surveys is because of a plot among the party in power (the UMP), the polling companies, and the owners of the large media corporations.

This is repulsive behavior in a democratic election. You don't call your opponent undemocratic or claim if he wins the country will fall apart or threaten the voters with an outburst of violence if you lose. And you don't blame your loss on a nefarious plot by some nebulous power brokers, either. I am thoroughly disgusted with Royal, who has demonstrated that she is not a reasonable and moderate leftist but rather someone who trafficks in fear.

José María Aznar, who might have been slightly tipsy, put his foot in his mouth big-time when he told a group of wine producers, in response to the Traffic Authority's current anti-drunk driving TV commercials, that he did not need anyone to tell him how much wine he could drink before driving. How thoroughly irresponsible. 4000 people die on the roads every year in Spain and alcohol is a factor in 30% of these deaths. If Mr. Aznar wants to drink wine, that's fine with me, I drink wine too, but I don't drive. I take the Metro, or a taxi if I'm out late, which I ususlly am not. It's not particularly expensive or inconvenient, either. And if Mr. Aznar wants to promote Spanish wines, that's great too, but he should of course mention moderation in drinking at the same time. Mr. Aznar should admit he was wrong.

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia knocked out another little Bourbon this week; it's a girl named Sonia. Big news, of course. I actually rather like the Spanish royal family. I am, of course, a small-R republican, but if we've got a democratic constitutional monarchy with a powerless King, that's effectively a republic for all practical purposes. And the Spanish royals are well-behaved and go about their business, which is mostly public relations, without causing any scandals or getting any negative publicity. They're also cheap; the State spends a few million euros a year on them, but probably gets that value back with all the PR and diplomatic work they do.

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