Sarah Palin’s star may have gotten slightly dimmer over the last few years, but she still has political clout amongst the Tea Party. She’s endorsed multiple candidates who have gone on to win elections, including Kelly Ayotte, Nikki Haley, and Tim Scott in 2010, Ted Cruz in 2012, and Ben Sasse in 2014. But the former Alaska governor has made a serious mistake in declaring her latest “political crush” is on French National Front politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. Palin wrote a glowing review of both Le Pen, and aunt Marine Le Pen, in Breibart this week by calling them a “force to be reckoned with” in the 2017 French presidential elections.

For some time now, I’ve admired the bold style of Marine Le Pen, who wrestled control of the leadership of her populist party in order to purge it of any trace of anti-Semitism, which it had unfortunately been tainted with in the past. But I’m especially impressed with the courage of her young niece who is a devout Catholic and unapologetically pro-life – not an easy thing for a politician to be in a country that’s aggressively secular.

More importantly, young Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is unashamed to champion France’s Judeo-Christian identity and heritage as something worth preserving and fighting for. She publicly proclaims it, setting an example for even American politicians to be so bold. With France (and indeed all of Europe) caught up in an existential crisis against radical Islam, these are the sentiments they need in their leadership.

There’s nothing wrong with being pro-life or having a deep Christian faith, especially in secular France. But Palin decides to go a step further by comparing Maréchal-Le Pen to not only Joan of Arc, but one of the Tea Party senators she helped get into office (emphasis mine).

The Left in Europe and America has always had a self-destructive hatred for the things that make a country great and worth living in: free markets,, free speech a civil society grounded in Judeo-Christian values, a strong national defense, and sovereign borders. They’re constantly attacking every one of these things. That’s undeniable.

But their dangerous ideology is being “mugged by reality.” People are waking up. Young Marion Maréchal-Le Pen built her electoral win last week by going to the rural small business owners – the average French citizens who have been ignored by their elite politicians and have had enough.

We see the same thing happening here in America. Call it the rise of the populists. Pundits are already seeing the similarities between Marion and Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, and 
Sen. Ted Cruz non-establishment candidates taking on corrupt, entrenched, and detached political elites who are more interested in preserving their own power than in defending their countries.

Here’s the problem: Marion Maréchal-Le Pen’s beliefs are NOTHING like the beliefs espoused by Ted Cruz (except maybe some similarities on immigration and national defense). Check out what National Front ‘s website declares the party’s stance on France’s decision to privatize some utilities (Google translated from French and emphasis mine).

The UMP and the PS more regularly talk about public services, they claim to want to protect. These two parties successively in power in recent decades, however, have dealt a very serious blow to the French public services through two movements that continue today: supporting “free and undistorted competition” and therefore the liberalization of public services as a result of the European Treaties and directives made ​​thereunder;by privatizing public service companies in all sectors. Note that the left-wing governments have contributed much to this double movement of liberalization and privatization that governments right (the Jospin government has privatized Air France, France Telecom, and highways).

So National Front, including Maréchal-Le Pen, is against letting public services become private and wants to see them re-nationalized. That’s not free markets, that’s demanding the state take control of an industry! The last “populist” leader to do this was Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and I don’t see any so-called conservative rushing to defend him. This isn’t something Ted Cruz has ever declared his love for. Cruz even read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand on the floor of the Senate during his 2013 speech against Obamacare. Rand was never a fan of government controlling industry and fled from it when she left the Soviet Union in 1925.

How does National Front feel about taxes? Pretty good actually (emphasis mine).

Taxation of individuals
With regard to the taxation of individuals, the priority will be to make it more progressive, without weighing the income tax on individuals by creating new intermediate slices. The upper portion of the income tax will be increased by 46%. Thus, the middle class will pay less income tax, but the very rich households will pay more.

To improve the fairness of corporate taxation, it is first necessary to strengthen the progressivity of the income tax (IS) based on revenue and earnings. 

This is to encourage individual entrepreneurs and SMEs by creating three types of single CIT rate of 15%, 25% and 34% with a revenue sharing for 2/3 for the state budget and 1/3 for the Communities budget (Cf measurement 1).

Sounds really small-c “conservative” doesn’t it? It’s really in-line with Cruz’ 10% flat tax on individuals and 16% on businesses. This isn’t free markets at all, it’s giving even more power to the state. If a Republican campaigned on this, they’d (hopefully) be laughed out of the election by “the base.” How Palin could compare Cruz with Maréchal-Le Pen makes no sense whatsoever.

Of course, this is all about populism so it doesn’t really matter to Palin what Marachel-Le Pen actually believes because it’s all about getting supporters stirred up. The problem is what the stirring up is about. When Cruz talks about “making DC listen” it’s about mostly weakening the government (except on immigration and military spending), while Maréchal-Le Pen wants to make the government even stronger. If anything, FN’s policies should be completely rejected by anyone who says they believe in a smaller government, which stays out of the lives of individuals. It’s an example as to why fascism, which FN is accused of promoting, and socialism are almost exactly the same thing. It’s why Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s Three New Deals noted similarities between FDR’s New Deal and the policies of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. It’s why my spine has chills whenever I read FN proclaim “the State will be the spearhead of this rearmament of France,” (not militarily) or hear Barack Obama say the federal government “has the capacity to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity,” and discuss “doing things together.” Where is the difference between what Marachel-Le Pen and the FN say versus what Obama and the Democrats preach? Why is Sarah Palin supporting the FN’s strong, powerful government when she’s excoriated Obama for doing the same thing? Palin should know better! She’s smarter than this. This is why populism can be so dangerous because it can cause people to lose sight of the tenets they claim to stand for. I like Palin, but if she doesn’t re-examine FN’s policial positions and take back her piece, it shows how inconsistent she’s become for the sake of populism.