There’s a lengthy post at FrumForm about the silliness of teahadist fiscal ideas, if it’s even appropriate to describe them as “ideas”. The piece is thorough and on-the-mark, if a little long for my tastes.
What intrigued me most was was the opening line:
Let’s just say it, the Tea Party movement has far more in common with the French Poujadist movement of the 1950s then it does with authentic American conservatism.
I had never heard of Poujade before, so I read the Time magazine piece the post linked to. Poujade would certainly fit right into the tea party movement:
Pierre Poujade looks like a peasant and makes the most of it. He avoids ties in favor of turtleneck sweaters or open-throat shirts. His shoes are often unshined, his pants unpressed, his nails dirty, his light beard unshaven. He prefers his country red wine to champagne, the kitchen to the living room, and he drinks his soup from his plate. He boasts that he has no book learning. “Why should I study books? I know more already than the people who wrote them.” He tells crowds: “I’m just le petit Poujade, an ordinary Frenchman like you.”[….]
He explains his new theory on Algeria: “Big Wall Street syndicates found incredibly rich oil deposits in the Sahara, but instead of exploiting the discovery they capped the wells and turned the Algerians against us.” He discourses on France’s alliances: “All this is a great diabolic scheme to dismember France. Already the Saar is gone, and soon the Italians will want Corsica.” He adds slyly: “As for those who are against us, I need only say: let them go back to Jerusalem. We’ll even be glad to pay their way.”
My sense, though, is that there are also fundamental differences: Poujade attempted to court unions (I don’t know how successful he was) and, from what I can tell, the movement had a “revolt of the shop-keepers” flavor to it that would be a bit out of place in the big-corporation-friendly tea party. There also seems to little-to-no Ayn Rand influence on Poujade and his followers. On the other hand, in terms of sheer anti-tax stupidity and misguided pseudo-patriotism, it’s about the closest thing I’ve seen elsewhere to the teabagger stuff.
Do any of you know more about Poujade? I found the Time article very interesting, but obviously I feel stupid discussing a political movement I had never heard of until yesterday.