Personally, I don't think that is the correct election strategy at all. Yes, they have identified Sarkozy as the candidate to beat, but trying to make Attila the Hun look like a pinko communist is not the best election strategy at all. Of all the conversations I've had with people one thing is clear; French society does want change - the mistake that the PS is making is that they think people are stupid and will fall for the right wing standards of "Law and Order", "International Competitiveness" and "Anti-immigration". On the ground people do know what is going on - I had a very interesting conversation with some French "youth" the other day and they are "tuned in" but they are on verge of "dropping out" because the political leadership is not listening to them.
People do know what is going on, and they do couch their arguments in terms of globalization and the problems of international capital. If the leadership of the PS wants to play the right wing game, they have already lost, because it will lead to a desertion of voters who will not take them seriously - if people want right wingers, they will vote for the right wing.
That said, I'm no fan of the PS - the word "insipid" doesn't even begin to sum them up. I believe that people do want real change, in a positive way. I've just started reading Freedom Next Time by John Pilger (thanks Sean!), and there is a real global movement of people who are sick of being treated like cattle. No offence to the cows mind you, it's just that we have all these politicians spouting crap all day, every day, and the only one's who are enjoying this are the stockholders in arms companies.
"That's enough! More and more profits, less and less jobs guaranteed, more and more richer shareholders"