Monday, December 21, 2009

Think Tanked

There are a number of think tanks that aim to do for the next Socialist presidential candidate what Emmanuelle Mignon did for Nicolas Sarkozy: supply position papers, flesh out campaign themes, do opposition research, etc. One of them, the Laboratoire des Idées, has just suffered a high-level resignation: Lucille Schmid, the vice-president of the organization, close to Arnaud Montebourg, resigned, complaining that the party had failed to organize "political outlets" for the group's work. The perennial complaint of intellectuals in politics: we're not being listened to. Who knows what the real problem was? Still, here is yet another sign, if one were needed, that things are not going well in the never-ending Socialist renovation. Mignon's operation worked because Sarkozy knew what he wanted. One has the impression that Aubry's PS doesn't, perhaps because it isn't so much a party as a label for which a handful of candidates are vying. And until the candidate issue is settled, the barely-existent party can't decide what it wants in the way of intellectual support.

Interview with Schmid here.


Arthur Goldhammer said...

Having encountered some rather negative comment on this news on Facebook, which involved some insider gossip I couldn't follow, I asked for clarification and received this (from a source who will remain unnamed):

"Désolé cher Arthur... Here are some tips for you :

1/ Lucile Schmid était la vice-présidente du "Lab", une sorte de think tank interne du PS créé par la direction actuelle après e congrès de Reims, son président étant Christian Paul, député de la Nièvre (le département de François, voir ci-dessus).

2/ L. Schmid démissionne aujourd'hui en mettant en cause l'impossibilité de travailler réellement sur les idées au PS - ce qui n'est ni très original ni très nouveau... Elle aurait pu/dû s'en apercevoir avant.

3/ Comme elle n'a pas été réinvestie pour les élections régionales (elle était jusqu'ici conseillère régionale en Ile-de-France), certains de ses camarades soupçonnent qu'elle puisse exprimer ainsi son mécontentement.

4/ OK... who cares ?"

MYOS said...

I think it goes beyond the "perennial complaint": Hollande's PS gave the impression of a spinning top, Martine Aubry's PS gives the impression of a 90s revival. Their latest decision is to keep their course steady without incorporating "green" themes. I really believe Martine Aubry has no use for thinkers or people who'd throw new ideas into her idea of what the PS is supposed to be. I mean, she's still advocating a union of all the left when ALL the left parties have made it clear they're not interested.....
I also find it interesting that 23/26 policies for the upcoming elections are directly lifted from what the Poitou Charentes is doing. Either some kind of recognition or a proof the national committee in Solferino has no new idea. I don't know whether the current Poitou charentes platform has new ideas, either (or if it has a platform.)

FrédéricLN said...

"Mignon's operation worked because Sarkozy knew what he wanted." Indeed, he wanted to connect his campaign to intellectuals, and prove that the left could lose its monopolistic situation in the intellectual debate. That he, Sarkozy, could stand at some political forefront. And that he would not worry anyway about the content, the ideas themselves.

That may be a problem with the PS : the party is already connected with intellectuals (at human relations / parisian networks level), and its ideological base (that raises support at elections : basically, to protect pensions, health care, employment allowances and government jobs) needs very painful transformation as the State budget is failed.

I guess they prefer not to know. See (ex-socialist) Jean-Luc Mélenchon last post about the MoDem's agenda, described as "rightist". A very serious post, but wishful thinking about what would be done. Not kind of Emmanuelle Mignon could back that.