July 02, 2003

The French and taxes

Bruce Bartlett compares Sabine Herold to Pierre Poujade and advises her to develop a consistent political platform:

Exactly 50 years ago, a similar middle-class revolt arose in France led by a small-town bookseller named Pierre Poujade. In the summer of 1953, he organized the shopkeepers in the town of St. Cere to go on strike against the tax collectors. As with Herold, Poujade suddenly found himself the leader of a national crusade. In 1956, his movement elected 52 members to the 544-member National Assembly.

But the Poujadists quickly ran out of steam. Within two years, their movement virtually ceased to exist. The reason seems to be that they had no real vision of reform or a program that went much beyond protest. In the United States, they would be called populists. Once given a bit of power, they didn't know what to do with it and so faded away.

(...)

Sabine Herold has her work cut out for her. But unlike Pierre Poujade, she understands the need for a broader political philosophy upon which to base her movement. She is said to be reading the Austrian political philosopher F.A. Hayek and is a great admirer of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She will need the wisdom of the former and all the steely determination of the latter if she is to be successful.