The End Of Socialism In Europe?

Jacob Heilbrunn makes the case:

[The German] election, widely touted as boring and uninteresting, proved to be anything but.


The [Free Democratic Party], which espouses a classical liberal program of slashing taxes and curbing government regulation, was led to its smashing victory by its chairman, Guido Westerwelle. [...] The election confirms a wider trend in Europe that Malte Lehming, an editor at the Berlin Tagespiegel, dubs “the end of socialism in Europe.” As Lehming notes, socialist parties have failed in France, Italy, Germanyand England is next. Meanwhile, Lehming tartly noted, Greece has a socialist government “and they’re rioting over there in the streets.” For Westerwelle, the election vindicates his strategy over the past eleven years to shun the Left and focus on an alliance with the conservative Christian Democrats. Westerwelle is young and dynamic, presenting himself as a kind of German Barack Obama.

Cameron is next. But the idea that European socialism has been alive and well these past couple of decades is absurd. The last real attempts at socialism in Europe were in the 1980.  Meanwhile, Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron are conservatives who reflexively support a welfare state that American Republicans believe is "communism". The three Euro-Tories are also dedicated to a secular politics, are neutral on abortion and strong supporters of gay equality. Cameron has championed socialized medicine and gay marriage as a core tenet of his One Nation Toryism. Suck on that, Newt.

In that sense, the notion of a trans-Atlantic right is pretty much dead. Cameron was comfortable with McCain. But with Limbaugh or Beck or Palin? They're enough to make a Tory shudder.

(Hat tip: Atlantic Wire)