November 11 2013
No Tea Party in Europe
Carrie L. Lukas
The New York Times has a new piece lamenting the rise of anti-immigrant, Euro-skeptic parties and politicians in Europe. It’s mostly an amusing attempt to reconcile the writer’s perception of so-called right-wing predilections with the fact that European populists clearly are socialists. Unsurprisingly, the New York Times continues the Left’s tradition of labeling any abhorrent political movement – like Nazism – as “right wing.” But in a gratuitous, and entirely predictable, foray into domestic U.S. politics, the article then ties the Tea Party to the “fear-mongering populists” of Europe:
In some ways, this is Europe’s Tea Party moment — a grass-roots insurgency fired by resentment against a political class that many Europeans see as out of touch. The main difference, however, is that Europe’s populists want to strengthen, not shrink, government and see the welfare state as an integral part of their national identities.
So, this is Europe’s Tea Party — except for the tiny difference that the movement seeks precisely the opposite of what the U.S. Tea Party is trying to accomplish. This means either 1) all grass-roots political opposition is a sort of “Tea Party,” making the analogy so weak as to be meaningless, or 2) the New York Times was looking to not-so-subtly associate the U.S. Tea Party with groups like the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece or the anti-Semitic Jobbik party in Hungary. This is already the perception of the Tea Party in the European press, by the way, which regularly paints absurd fascist caricatures of the clearly libertarian-themed U.S. movement. At the least, the Times’s mention of the Tea Party suggests that it is equivalent to the support for “easy solutions of populism and nationalism” associated with the European “far right.” Either way, the analogy doesn’t even begin to hold, and it’s a cheap shot even for the New York Times.
— Carrie Lukas is the managing director of the Independent Women’s Forum.