Wednesday, March 11, 2009


CEVIPOF, an acronym for Centre d'Etudes de la Vie Politique Française, continues to go by that appellation despite the fact that for some time the institution has been officially named the Centre de Recherches Politiques de Sciences Po. But now, in a dispute over methods and ideas, fourteen chercheurs are leaving for the Centres d'Etudes européennes, another filiale of Sciences Po. They are protesting the reappointment of Pascal Perrineau as head of CEVIPOF. Among the departing scholars are Gérard Grunberg, an expert on the PS, and Nonna Mayer, an expert on the FN.

Ridgway Come Home

Tonight President Sarkozy will announce that France is rejoining NATO. The stiffest opposition comes from within the ranks of his own party. Somewhere, the ghost of General Ridgway is smiling. All is forgiven: Ridgway come home, and make Gérard Depardieu happy:

Younger French people may find it unimaginable but American forces were part of the landscape from 1944 to 1967, admired and envied, especially in the 29 base towns, where they cruised in exotic cars, lived luxuriously and taught local women to dance rock'n'roll. At Chateauroux 10 per cent of all marriages between 1951 and 1967 were between US servicemen and French women. The film star Gérard Depardieu has fond memories of a black American girlfriend of his teenage years.

Socialists Go to School

Martine Aubry's dircab, Arnaud Montebourg, Delphine Batho, and Olivier Ferrand, the head of the left-wing think tank Terra Nova went to the US to study Obama's campaign methods. Montebourg says he drew inspiration from the trip, but the example he gives--that the Obama campaign used the Internet "not just as a communications tool but as an instrument of mobilization"--suggests that he may have missed a few steps in the argument. Indeed, the campaign did use the Internet as he suggests, but it worked only because the candidate was a person for whom people were prepared to "mobilize." Montebourg seems to think that technology can turn a moribund party--un parti exsange, dit-il--into a powerhouse. The Internet is a marvelous tool, but it can't yet make fishes and loaves out of this.