The Corner


Familiar Music (Discordant)

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, last month (Bernadett Szabo / Reuters)

Rallying the folks, Viktor Orbán was playing some familiar music. Do you recognize it? “We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the whole world.”

(For Shaun Walker’s report in the Guardian, go here.)

Are Orbán’s words innocent? I doubt it. He studied at Pembroke College, Oxford (on a Soros scholarship). He knows European history better than most of us. He does not speak accidentally.

To many on the American right, Orbán is a hero. They lionize him as a champion of Christendom. I understand this, and so can anyone: Radical Islam has made appalling inroads in Europe, and many of the traditional parties are indifferent to it or weak on it. Orbán looks like a tell-it-like-it-is savior.

Some of his fans are unaware of the broader picture; some of them are perfectly aware. This morning on Twitter, I saw an interesting comment.

Reacting to Orbán’s latest statement, a man wrote, “Well, sh**. This is disappointing. I’d hoped it wasn’t like this. I’d hoped our press coverage of central Europe was as biased as coverage of the Tea Party.”

Again, understandable. In any event, Orbán is getting blunter, it seems to me, or more transparent. He is getting harder to make excuses for or explain away.

And I think that we conservatives are at a time for choosing: the politics of Orbán et al. or the politics of Reagan et al. Both, you cannot have. The straddle looks weird and starts to hurt.

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