Oh, Anne Applebaum. Several months late to the "fiscal conservatism doesn't fail, it is only failed" party, she trots out Europe (?!?) as a glimmer of hope for laissez faire capitalists everywhere. What's not to love about this article?
- Sarkozy, last seen pushing for a stimulus package, being counted as the sort of fiscal conservative who hates stimulus packages ("a policy more colloquially known as 'massive government spending'")?
- The EP elections, which nobody in Europe cares about and tend to produce extreme results, being used as rock-solid evidence of Europe turning en masse to Joe the Plumber?
- Status quo types in European states with massive welfare-state governments and public expenditures larger than the US by basically any metric being hailed as "fiscal conservatives"?
- Or perhaps this:
But if nothing else, the success of the European center-right during the current crisis proves that there is something to their political formula. They are fiscally conservative. They are, if not socially liberal, then at least socially centrist. They haven't been swayed by the fashion for big spending. They are trying to keep some semblance of budget sanity. And, at least at the moment, they win elections.
Except, uh, you know, in the actual elections that actually occur places other than in Anne Applebaum's head:
Europe's Greens were the only major bloc whose parliamentary proportion increased — from 5.5 percent to 7.1 percent in this election. Far-right groups and anti-EU parties, including the UK Independence Party, also saw big increases in the independent group.
Oh, so the trend isn't so much towards the center-right, as out toward the fringes. Uh, well ... other than that, she nailed it!