Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Socialist Abstention

The Socialists abstained on the bank rescue vote today. This despite Hollande's statement that the plan was "technically sound" and Jean-Marc Ayrault's declaration that he couldn't imagine his party voting against the plan. Later he said he meant this literally: the party didn't vote against, it abstained.

One could imagine a defense of abstention, but not the one the Socialists gave. They complained that the plan contained no provisions for responding to the impending recession. I suppose that someone at rue Solférino thinks this makes it seem as though the PS is defending "workers." This is to take voters for fools. People may be wary of a plan that they don't fully understand (does anyone?), but they know the difference between an emergency and legislation-as-usual. Hollande and Ayrault essentially conceded that the situation was urgent, so that the party's abstention can only be interpreted as a refusal to share responsibility for navigating in the storm. This is a decision that will haunt them for some time to come.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Even at the bottom of the pit, there is always the option to dig some more.

OscottLocal said...

I never cease to be amazed by the ability of the PS to make a mess of opposition. Sarkozy is doing rather well out of this and by, as you rightly point out, abstaining from responsibility the PS is opening its self up to criticism. It will contintue to be seen as unfit to govern. Thank god Hollande is on his way out.

MYOS said...

Sometimes the PS just makes no sense at all.
Art, out of curiosity, what defense of abstention could you imagine?
(Outside of the PC's, of course ;)) )

Unknown said...

myos,
If you oppose something on principle, you vote against it. To abstain on an emergency measure, the only reasonable justification is lack of information about details, and the threat of abstention should be a tactic intended to move the majority either to release more information or to revise its plan in certain specific ways, which the opposition should then feel itself under an obligation to spell out.

MYOS said...

Thank you very much Art.
I really believe they should have voted "no" or "yes" and explained why. Abstention is just wishy washy, like they can"t make up their minds. If they were in power, they'd site and swing back and forth?
On the other hand, I heard JF Copé this morning and he wasn't his self-confident, ebullient self, so something's wrong wth President Sarkozy, the UMP, or at least, something's up that doesn"t make Copé happy.