OVERTHROW ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU... Over at The Times, Floyd Norris makes an interesting point on France's surprisingly rapid abandonment of their proposed economic reforms:

One reason for the reluctance of the French and the Italians to stick by what the politicians see as needed changes is the longtime insecurity of governments, in contrast to relatively stable political situations in countries like the United States and Britain.

In Italy, there has been a history of short-lived governments in much of the time since the end of World War II, albeit many of these governments were populated by the same politicians. Mr. Berlusconi has been an exception, managing to last a full parliamentary term.

In France, change has been much slower in one way � Mr. Chirac has been in office for more than a decade � but French governments seem to be less confident in their mandate. French history is full of violent changes in government, not least the French Revolution, and current politicians can remember 1968, when some thought that student protests in Paris and other cities were about to force President Charles de Gaulle to resign.

Doesn't seem like a very good state of affairs to me, but then I, unlike the conservative chorus gleefully criticizing the French, believe in a strong centralized government...

--Ezra Klein