MSNBC Commentator Makes Uninformed Remark on Europe
Extinct? Not even endangered.
American journalists -- with the notable exception of foreign correspondents -- seem to have little knowledge about what goes on across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. That's not good, especially when we live in a globalized world. Considering that the European Union is the world's largest economy, and China's economy may soon surpass that of the U.S., it would be perhaps beneficial if American journalists showed at least a modicum of interest in global affairs.
In a recent interview on Hardball, Jonathan Alter discussed the issue of illegal immigration in America. His general point was that Republicans should support immigration reform because it would help their party in the long-run with Hispanics.
That debate is not our concern here. Instead, our concern is what he said next:
"[Republicans] shouldn't become a remnant party the way they are in Europe."
Hmmm. This is a rather mystifying statement.
It is completely true that there are no Republicans in Europe. For that matter, there aren't any Democrats, either. So, presumably, Mr. Alter actually means, "Conservatives shouldn't become a remnant party the way they are in Europe."
If that's what he meant, then he is still completely wrong. In the European Parliament, the center-right European People's Party (EPP) is the largest, and it governs in a grand coalition with the center-left Party of European Socialists (PES).
In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron of the Conservative Party leads his nation in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. In Germany, Angela Merkel of the Christian Democrats leads a center-right coalition. Until last year's election of Francois Hollande, France was governed by Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right party. And Poland -- a nation with rapidly growing influence in Europe -- has two major political parties: One is center-right and the other is far-right.
Sure, European economic policies are further to the left than U.S. policies. But Mr. Alter's implication that conservatism is dead in Europe betrays a lack of knowledge of current European affairs.