20100220

GOP meets Poujadism

When Karl Rove says the Tea Party should keep distances from the GOP*, what he actually means is that the GOP should stay away from this political dead end.

But if the Architect knows a few things about winning and losing elections, I don't think he is familiar with French Poujadism, the movement which inevitably comes up to my troubled French mind each time I hear about this laughingstock of a Tea Party.

During the early 1950s, Shop owner Pierre Poujade defied the French tax system and founded a party that surfed on a collapsed political system to claim 400,000 members and more than 50 seats in the National Assembly... where the absence of program of the movement became an embarassment for everyone. Charles de Gaulle's comeback put an end to the doomed IVth Republic, and Poujade's Union de Defense des Commercants et des Artisans left for ever the political centerstage.

Pathetic indeed. But one can worry a bit more about what could happen in a country where a certain Joseph Stack III just crashed his plane on an I.R.S. building in Austin, TX**... Furthermore, among UDCA's law"makers" was Jean-Marie Le Pen, who later founded the extreme right party Front National... I wouldn't be surprised to find this kind of "great democrats" within the Tea Party's dream team.

Hardcore taxophobes are not comfortable with the very concept of a state, and such platforms never bloom in healthy democracies because they are, fundamentally, anti-democracy.

Populism and tax breaks sell well in the short term, but only simple minds stick to it whatever happens. For instance : the same voters who followed G. W. Bush on that path are now mad at Obama because he doesn't know how to reduce Dubya's abyssal deficits with more tax reductions.

Unlike Poujadism, the Tea Party is purely grassroot and lacks a leader. Ron Paul might fit the job, but Sarah Palin proposed to take the helm at the inaugural National Convention in Nashville, TN, reading from her Palm Pilot (actually a low tech model counterfeited by John McCain). Sarah Tea Party Palin... what a match.

We already saw how Palin represented the no-future of the GOP ("
Sarah Palin and the Segolene Royal Syndrome - The GOP on the same path as the French Socialist Party"). So a Tea Party Spin Off with Mrs Theocon on board would definitely leave some space for Republicans who actually respect the republic (see "GOP : time to split").

Anyway, instead of following the ones who yell and destroy, GOP leaders would better sit down and think. Even if it means losing the upcoming elections - actually, THAT could come as a blessing : they decently cannot postpone their own reforms any longer.

But Democrats shouldn't rejoice too soon : if the popular success of the Tea Party unmistakably corroborates the ideological collapse of the GOP, it also is a gorilla-sized canary in their own coalmine. And they must prevent the most liberal aisles to stretch beyond the limits of the republic. Obama took the blame and seems to be correcting communication to restore some of the truth : OK, I didn't deliver the goods, but I had a few bads to take care of first.

blogules 2010

* "
Where the Tea Parties Should Go From Here" (WSJ 20100219)
** At least, a political crash of the GOP wouldn't cause much damage.

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