It has been an interesting week for Europe in the Chinese Proverb sense of the word. Via Paul Krugman…
The French are revolting. The Greeks, too. And it’s about time.
Both countries held elections Sunday that were in effect referendums on the current European economic strategy, and in both countries voters turned two thumbs down. It’s far from clear how soon the votes will lead to changes in actual policy, but time is clearly running out for the strategy of recovery through austerity — and that’s a good thing.
Needless to say, that’s not what you heard from the usual suspects in the run-up to the elections. It was actually kind of funny to see the apostles of orthodoxy trying to portray the cautious, mild-mannered François Hollande as a figure of menace. He is “rather dangerous,” declared The Economist, which observed that he “genuinely believes in the need to create a fairer society.” Quelle horreur!
What is true is that Mr. Hollande’s victory means the end of “Merkozy,” the Franco-German axis that has enforced the austerity regime of the past two years. This would be a “dangerous” development if that strategy were working, or even had a reasonable chance of working. But it isn’t and doesn’t; it’s time to move on. Europe’s voters, it turns out, are wiser than the Continent’s best and brightest.
As always, it’s best to read the whole thing. Krugman lays out the case with his usual lucidity that Austerity has been a disaster for all of Europe. And that the new leadership might possibly push Europe away from the abyss that it’s been running towards faster than a meth addled coyote.
(And yes, I’m fully aware that the we now also have to deal with Nazis in the Greek Parliament. My own knowledge of Greek Politics is spotty at best. But anytime you mix a bad economy with Nazis…you got problems. Now 19 seats out of 300 is not much but still…attention needs to be paid.)
Meanwhile, here in America, Ron Paul is determined to keep plugging away.
On Sunday, Paul supporters wrested control of the Maine Republican Convention and elected a majority slate supporting the Texas congressman to the national convention, party officials said.
In votes leading to the close of the two-day Maine convention, Paul supporters were elected to 21 of the 24 delegate spots to the national convention in Tampa, Fla. The 24th delegate’s seat goes to party Chairman Charles Webster, who has remained uncommitted.
In Nevada on Saturday, Bob List, a former governor and a Romney supporter, lost his seat on the Republican National Committee (and his ticket to the convention) to a backer of Paul, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In Iowa, Paul’s supporters dominated the selection of at-large delegates, according to The Iowa Republican. And in Alaska, his supporters grabbed the convention chairmanship as well, says the Alaska Dispatch.
Romney has 859 delegates, according to a count by The Associated Press. That’s 285 short of the 1,144 he needs to win the nomination. Romney could get about 100 delegates from Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia, if he dominates the voting in all three states.
But unless he persuades a lot more Santorum and Gingrich delegates to switch allegiances, Romney might not clinch until the Texas primary May 29.
But Paul’s main goal is most likely to put himself at the center of shaping the party’s platform at the convention.
The platform lays out where the party stands on social, economic and military issues, and it is written by a committee that typically operates at the direction of the nominee.
But Paul’s delegates could try to upset that arrangement by pushing hard to be included in the platform debates. Paul’s views on the Federal Reserve, Iraq and Afghanistan, drug policy, health care and the deficit are very different from Romney’s.
In the end, Romney’s allies are likely to win those debates. Modern political conventions have become largely ceremonial affairs, and Paul probably will not change that, even with the extra delegates he is amassing
I would respectfully disagree with the last part. Given Romney’s now legendary…malleability, there’s a good chance that some of Paul’s pet policies might just squeak by. And not the acceptable Hey-let’s-not-invade-other-countries-willy-nilly-and-read everyone’s-email ideas. More like the hey-let’s-cut-all-social-services-and-let-the-poor-people-bask-in the-freedom-of-poverty ideas. The same ideas that France and Greece just rejected.
Hopefully, we in America will follow their example.
Minus the Nazis. Nobody wants to see Nazis unless they’re being punched by Captain America or Indiana Jones.