Saturday, July 7, 2007

On s'en fout

Ensconced in a hotel in New Jersey, where I'll be for the next 24 hours, I whiled away a bit of the time by scanning a few papers for talk of the Sarkozy bid to talk up DSK for the IMF. Nothing in Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, or The Guardian. A bare sentence in Corriere della Sera. I haven't been very careful in my search, but it helps to put things in perspective to see that nothing jumps out at once. What seems earthshaking in France may hardly cause a ripple elsewhere, and the rest of Europe doesn't appear to be waiting breathlessly for the advent of DSK. It will be interesting to see if opposition develops over the next few days in anticipation of a reaction from DSK himself. Le Monde does offer this comment on reactions among French Socialists, but nothing of substance.

Neutered?

Sushi105 asks:

would the PS without DSK be neutered even more than it already is??!
Let me preface my remarks by saying that even if DSK (or Fabius) decides to go for the IMF, as Sarkozy seems to be exhorting him to do, he and Sarko need to win the approval of other Europeans. I'm a little rushed this morning, so I haven't had time to scan non-French papers for reactions.

That said, I believe that the IMF might well be DSK's best move. Rebuilding the PS will be a long-term process, and there will undoubtedly be moves by younger leaders to supplant the old éléphants, who will be dismissed as dinosaurs (mammouths?). At the IMF, DSK could build his stature on the world stage. He would mingle with movers and shakers and acquire an independent base from which to criticize (should he feel critical) Sarkozyan economics as a key player in the global economy. He would remove himself from petty party squabbles and be in a position to return three years hence as a figure of greater magnitude than he is now. And the post might encourage him to enlarge his views and polish his self-presentation. He hasn't shown himself to be very adept at inside-the-party maneuvering, so his best bet to be the candidate of the PS in 2012 might be to return in triumph in 2010 as a successful global politician.

The same case could be made for Fabius, but if the rumor is true that Sarkozy won't support him for the post, then he has no chance.

As for the PS, I think its renewal depends on a new generation of leaders. I don't think that either DSK or Fabius can emerge from within; they have too much baggage and need to refurbish their reputations by using their undoubted intelligence and skill outside the party. To follow Royal is, I believe, a dead end. Hollande has promised to sideline himself. Kouchner and Lang are gone. It would be tedious to extend this mournful recitation to the smaller fry. So where might the party turn? For some speculation, see Blog Mitterrand.2007.

I'll be on the road today, so the rate of posting may slow.