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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

European Socialism: Undead

One of the favorite conservative talking points over this last year has been the argument that Barack Obama has been trying to move the United States towards “European-style socialism” even as Europe repudiated it. Never mind that Obama’s policy positions are a lot closer to those of Europe’s center-right parties than are the policy positions of the GOP. But in any event, the death of Euro-socialism has once again been greatly exaggerated, just as it was in the era of Margaret Thatcher.
A couple of weeks ago Portugal’s Socialist Party held onto power in parliamentary elections, albeit with reduced margins. And now comes the news that Greece’s center-left Pasok Party has won a resounding electoral victory, turning out the government of Costas Karamanlis and his center-right New Democracy Party. Pasok’s leader, George Papandreou, sure to be the next Greek prime minister, also happens to be president of the Socialist International.
Truth is that internal factors typically have more to do with specific electoral results than various theorists of Left or Right supremacy tend to admit. Regional trends also tend to be cyclical. Moreover, virtually every European government, regardless of its party configuration, remains “socialist” by American conservative standards.
So take away the Inevitable March of History from the factors that are supposed to re-deliver the U.S. to conservative rule in 2010 or 2012.

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