The surg­ing revolt against deficit spend­ing

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Tony Blank­ley

While west­ern me­dia con­tinue to rhap­sodize about the “Arab Spring demo­cratic rev­o­lu­tions” in the Mid­dle East, it may be that the real demo­cratic revo­lu­tion is be­gin­ning to oc­cur in the Euro­pean Union and the United States. And if the tim­ing is right, the cri­sis in the Euro­pean Union may play a de­ci­sive part in tip­ping the Amer­i­can elec­torate against Pres­i­dent Obama and the Democrats in our 2012 elec­tions.

Both by their votes and their demon­stra­tions, the semien­fran­chised cit­i­zens of na­tions un­der the rule of the Euro­pean Union are be­gin­ning to fight back against both the so­cial wel­fare and im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies that have been im­posed on them.

The gov­ern­ing class’ so­cialwel­fare poli­cies are hol­low­ing out the pros­per­ity of hard­work­ing Euro­peans while ex­pos­ing ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the so­cial largesse to the im­mi­nent with­drawal of pay­ments and sub­si­dies to which these many mil­lions of peo­ple have be­come ha­bit­u­ated.

At the same time, the in­tel­li­gentsia’s im­mi­gra­tion and mul­ti­cul­tural poli­cies are seen to be un­der­cut­ting the an­cient in­dige­nous cul­tures of Europe. Punc­tu­at­ing the slowly de­velop- ing anger of in­dige­nous Euro­peans to their gov­ern­ment’s mul­ti­cul­tural poli­cies is the shock of see­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of poor refugees from the Arab Spring flood­ing Europe in a mat­ter of weeks, forc­ing the hap­less Euro­pean gov­ern­ments to re­verse on a dime their long­stand­ing open borders pol­icy and try to re-es­tab­lish bor­der and pass­port con­trol.

Thus, gov­ern­ments from Spain to France to Ire­land to Italy to Ger­many are un­der fiercely in­creas­ing pub­lic pres­sure to aban­don the rule and dik­tat of the Euro­pean Union and once again try to pro­tect the na­tional in­ter­est — not the “Euro­pean” in­ter­est.

Note that the vot­ers are aroused in both the na­tions whose debt can no longer be lo­cally paid and those na­tions that are be­ing asked to pay the debts of for­eign coun­tries. That is to say, the Euro­pean so­cialwel­fare-deficit-debt prob­lem has out­raged both the debtors and the cred­i­tors. It takes a sin­gu­larly dis­con­nected and arro- gant so­cial class to cre­ate a set of poli­cies that sat­is­fies nei­ther cred­i­tor nor debtor.

Both eco­nomic and im­mi­grant poli­cies have been the cause of weak­ened Euro­pean gov­ern­ments from Fin­land to Ger­many to Spain and be­yond in the elec­tions of 2009 and the more re­cent elec­tions. Caught in the pin­cers of these two emerg­ing is­sues seen by many mid­dle-class Euro­pean vot­ers as ex­is­ten­tial to their cul­ture, we should ex­pect to see some ex­ist­ing gov­ern­ments fall by vote or, con­ceiv­ably, by other means.

We are ob­serv­ing a rare process: Stark eco­nomic and cul­tural re­al­ity is neu­ter­ing con­ven­tional po­lit­i­cal meth­ods. Es­tab­lished Euro­pean po­lit­i­cal par­ties and politi­cians may be­come ex­tinct quite sud­denly. So far, the pri­mary po­lit­i­cal ben­e­fi­cia­ries of this cri­sis are third, fourth and fifth par­ties — some of them con­sid­ered dis­rep­utable by the tot­ter­ing rul­ing class: in the Nether­lands, the heroic Geert Wilders’ Free­dom Party; in Hun­gary, the cen­ter­right Fidesz Party and the an­ti­im­mi­grant, hard-right Job­bik Party; in Aus­tria, the rightwing Free­dom Party and the Al­liance for the Fu­ture of Aus­tria (BZO); in Den­mark, the hard-right Dan­ish Peo­ple’s Party; in Italy, the anti-immi- grant North­ern League; in Fin­land, the anti-il­le­gal-im­mi­grant, Euro-skep­tic True Finns party; in Bri­tain, the racist Bri­tish Na­tional Party and the lib­er­tar­ian, anti-EU United King­dom In­de­pen­dence Party; and in France, Jean-Marie (and now his daugh­ter Marine) Le Pens’ patriotic Na­tional Front. There are oth­ers in al­most ev­ery Euro­pean coun­try.

Mean­while, here in the United States, the same two is­sues — so­cial-spend­ing-driven deficit/debt cri­sis and de facto open borders and mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism — are di­vid­ing the coun­try, al­though our me­dia vastly un­der­re­port the gen­uine dan­ger and emo­tive power of the chaos at our borders.

If the GOP con­tin­ues to stick to its com­mit­ments on both is­sues and the Demo­cratic Party con­tin­ues its strat­egy of be­ing the party of kick­ing the can down the road on both the deficit and the borders, then the Tea Party move­ment will ex­press it­self through the ves­sel of the Repub­li­can Party, rather than a third party.

It is in the con­text of a twoway fight in the 2012 elec­tion on those is­sues that events in Europe may be de­ci­sive. The great­est un­known in such an elec­tion is whether at least 50 per­cent of the Amer­i­can vot­ing pub­lic will see the deficit/debt and fed­eral reg­u­la­tory in­tru­sion crises with as much concern in 2012 as it did in our 2010 elec­tion, or whether the in­de­pen­dents and soft-party vot­ers will be suf­fi­ciently ac­cli­mated to $1.5 tril­lion an­nual deficits and 9 per­cent un­em­ploy­ment that they will vote for fed­eral spend­ing ben­e­fits rather than the na­tional in­ter­est.

That is where events in Europe could be de­ci­sive. I suspect it was the Greek debt cri­sis and the ri­ots in Athens in May 2010 that made real to many Amer­i­can vot­ers not usu­ally highly in­formed that a mod­ern west­ern democ­racy could ac­tu­ally deficit-spend it­self to de­struc­tion. If, be­tween now and Novem­ber 2012, there is an­other Euro­pean cri­sis equally vivid for Amer­i­can vot­ers, it is likely such an event will rein­vig­o­rate the pas­sion to fix our own mess. And, in the ab­sence of the Demo­cratic Party even of­fer­ing a plau­si­ble path to safety, the ever-wa­ver­ing in­de­pen­dent vot­ers will tend to vote Repub­li­can for both pres­i­dent and Congress.

Tony Blank­ley is the au­thor of “Amer­i­can Grit: What It Will Take to Sur­vive and Win in the 21st Cen­tury” (Reg­n­ery, 2009) and vice pres­i­dent of the Edel­man pub­lic re­la­tions firm in Wash­ing­ton.

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