John Zvesper has been known to hang out in France (careful with your prejudice, now!) and he had the chance to watch Chirac’s TV gig. His report is excellent. "In the light of more than a dozen recent opinion polls indicating the growing weakness of the ’yes’ vote, Chirac has probably concluded that his decision to make France’s ratification of the Constitution subject to a popular referendum was as imprudent as was the decision of Louis XVI’s ministers to ask people about their grievances." There is much more on Louis XVI, De Gaulle, and le grand Chirac and his lack of political courage, and more. It is much too good to summarize. Do read it all.