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Out of Deficit, More Democracy

A Commentary By Tony Blankley

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

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 semi-enfranchised citizens of nations under the rule of the European Union are beginning to fight back against both the social welfare/debt and immigration/border policies that have been imposed on them.

The governing elite's social welfare/debt 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 elite's immigration and multicultural policies are seen to be undercutting the ancient indigenous cultures of Europe. Punctuating the slowly developing 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 democratic revolutions" flooding Europe in a matter of weeks -- forcing the hapless European governments to reverse on a dime their long-standing 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 in those nations who are being asked to pay the debts of foreign countries. That is to say that the European social welfare/ deficit/debt problem has outraged both the debtors and the creditors. It takes a singularly disconnected and arrogant elite to create a set of policies that satisfies neither creditor nor debtor.

Both Euro economic and cultural/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 issues that are emerging (in the eyes of many middle-class European voters) as existential to their culture, we should expect to see some existing governments fall by vote -- or just 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 be 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 elites:

In the Netherlands, the heroic Geert Wilders' Freedom Party; in Hungary, the center-right Fidesz Party and the anti-immigrant, hard-right Jobbik Party; in Austria, the right-wing Freedom Party and the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZO); in Denmark, the hard-right Danish People's Party; in Italy, the anti-immigrant 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; 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 -- though our media vastly under- report the genuine danger and emotive power of the chaos at our borders.

If the GOP continues to stick to its commitments on both issues (praise the Lord and pass the ammunition), 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 two-way 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/federal regulatory intrusion crisis 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.

And that is where events in Europe could be decisive. I suspect that it was the Greek debt crisis (and the riots in Athens in May 2010) that made real to many American voters who are not usually highly informed conviction voters that a modern Western democracy could actually deficit spend itself to destruction.

If, between now and November 2012, there is another European crisis of equal vividness and impact on American voters, it is likely that 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 executive vice president of Edelman public relations in Washington. E-mail him at TonyBlankley@gmail.com.

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