The limits of Renzi’s ideology of the doing
Le Monde Diplomatique (English edition) carries a blog post by Chris J Bickerton and Carlo Invernizzi Accetti where they say that behind the scenes of Renzi’s engineered coup against Letta it is his opponents who maneuvered Renzi into a position of having to seize power at an inconvenient time and in an inconvenient manner, something Renzi himself has admitted. Renzi has now acquired a Macchiavellian reputation, and in the wake of revelations that President Napolitano held talks with Mario Monti in 2011 to replace Berlusconi well before he resigned himself, this doesn’t help Renzi’s democratic credentials: the public mood in Italy is highly critical of having three consecutive unelected prime ministers.
Renzi’s apparent strategy after gaining the PD’s leadership was to dictate Letta’s government agenda from outside the cabinet, but then Bickerton and Accetti argue that his own “ideology of the doing” (ideologia del fare) put him in the position of having to take chances as they presented themselves and made him vulnerable to scheming by others. In this way, they say, Renzi is now forced to lead the same ineffectual coalition as Letta and take full responsibility for reform or lack thereof instead of taking credit for any success from the sidelines. Renzi may now become vulnerable to criticism from his opponents that his ideology of the doing was just talking.
The first victim of this may be Renzi’s proposed institutional reforms of election law and the senate, as he focuses on the more urgent economic problems. Bickerton and Accetti conclude that Renzi’s constant need to “do something” has already made him lose control of the timing and content of his political project.