Thursday, September 24, 2009

What the PAN Is Missing

The PAN turned 70 year old at some point in the past couple of weeks, which has occasioned much commentary about the dire straights in which the party finds itself. Leonardo Curzio says it has lost three basic elements (paraphrased):
1) The ability to understand and measure popular concerns.

2) The deeper theoretical or philosophical debate beyond merely winning elections.

3) The grass-roots strength at the local level, and the corresponding focus on building local institution.
The first one is hard to measure accurately, and I haven't been in Mexico long enough to perceive a real change on that score, but it's definitely something you hear a lot, notably from Vicente Fox. The second two definitely ring true; it's easy to go overboard about parties needing ideas (in 2004 the Democrats were consigned to a permanent minority status because of their lack of them, if you remember), but some debate over a party's philosophy is surely a sign of health, and the PAN has virtually none. Nor do the PRI or the PRD engage in much vigorous philosophical debate, for that matter.

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