July 13, 2006

fascinating symmetry...

Michael Barone, on the election in Mexico:

...There is also a fascinating symmetry in the recent election results in the three NAFTA nations: Mexico, Canada and the United States. All chose center-right governments by narrow margins, installed by minorities of the voters. Calderon's 35.9 percent of the vote in a three-party system is eerily similar to the 36.3 percent won by Stephen Harper's Conservative Party in Canada's four-party system. We all know about Bush's two elections.

All three leaders have been opposed vociferously, indeed often considered illegitimate, by the metropolitan elites of New York, Toronto and Mexico City. All three beat parties that claimed only they had national reach -- the Democrats here, the Liberals in Canada and PRI in Mexico -- but that were tarred with scandal when they were voted out of office.

All three won thanks to huge margins in economically vibrant hinterlands -- George W. Bush's Texas, Stephen Harper's Alberta, Vicente Fox's Guanajuato. Calderon carried the Mexican states north of metro Mexico City by 47 percent to 22 percent over Lopez Obrador. These are the states where you find giant new factories, glistening shopping malls, rising office buildings, new middle-class subdivisions, Wal-Marts and freshly paved highways. This is the Mexico that NAFTA has brought into being.

Just as Bush carried most of our fastest-growing states and Harper's Conservatives carried Canada's fastest-growing province, so Mexico's northern states, which produced more than half the nation's population growth from 2000 to 2005, voted PAN.

These center-right parties all stand for change -- change in the sense of allowing a vibrant private sector to grow and alter our ways of living and making a living. Their opponents tend to stand against change, for the vested interests of public-sector unions, for (in Canada and Mexico) the subsidy of anti-American metropolitan elites...

You may be tempted to say that all three governments won narrowly, and so their elections don't mean much--a few votes switched and they would be gone. But that overlooks the fact that all three are supporting change. And it is always easier for people to vote for "more of the same." Al Gore was an incumbent, in a time of peace and prosperity, in what has traditionally, since the 1930's, been the majority party. His losing meant more than the mere numbers showed.

And I'm thinking that Harper and Calderon will be like Bush, in accomplishing more than one would expect from the numbers. They all have programs, they know what they want to do. They are intellectually alive, they believe in what they say, in a way that their leftist opponents don't dare to. And all are tapping into something that renews itself: Liberty. (And into something else that becomes young again and again; I think they are all Christians.)

Leftism never becomes young again, it's more like a vampire that sucks countries dry, and then discards them. When I was younger I was told in a thousand different ways that "Euro-socialism" works! That it provides a better alternative to nasty unregulated (if only) capitalism. Well, no. It has failed, and we can see the failure plainly. The EU is roughly comparable in wealth and size to the US. So, "Where's the beef?" Who's learning French so they can keep up with the exciting new ideas? Who's learning German so they can be on the cutting edge of...anything? Who's moving to Sweden to enjoy that famous "high standard of living?"

Those countries have been destroyed, destroyed by the same ideas that are pushed by Al Gore and John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Evil ideas, that have to keep shape-shifting and assuming new aliases and disguises.

Posted by John Weidner at July 13, 2006 7:44 AM
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