Haider was first and foremost, an Austrian patriot who came forward to defend his people in their little corner of Europe from the destructive forces of immigration and multiculturalism - which are in reality the primary problems of this era. This provoked the extraordinary scene, in 1999, of the EU bureaucracy sanctioning Austria because the electorate dared to give his party 27% of the vote, earning him a place in the Austrian government.
America has need of such men.
The news reports are full of hopeful punditry to the effect that Haider was the essential element in the rightâ€™s recent success, which will now fade. This is unlikely. The man who wrested leadership of the Freedom Party from Haider, Heinz-Christian Strache, had enough charisma to win two-thirds of the Right vote in the last election, also a big increase. And the issues certainly remain. Reuters carries a more sensible assessment: Austrian right may reunify after Haider death Sun Oct 12, 2008 By Alexandra Zawadil VIENNA (Reuters)
But there is no doubt that a man of great personal style has gone, and the political scene is dimmed. The Washington Post reports that Haider has the American and California flags in his office, the latter because of Californiaâ€™s one-time leadership in the Immigration restraint movement (one doubts he thought much of fellow Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger). He once ran in the New York Marathon and knew the U.S. situation well enough that
he oftenâ€¦accused his opponents of trying to appeal to interests on the U.S. "East Coast."The Post recalls:
At times, Mr. Haider's followers would start singing "Tomorrow belongs to Me", an anthem from the musical "Cabaret" that symbolized the Nazi takeover of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.This song, famously written well after WW2 by two emphatically non-Nazi Jewish Americans, by some stroke of poetic genius does indeed capture the extraordinary spirit of resurgence reported by historians of the era.
R.I.P. Jorg Haider. â€?Tomorrow Belongs to Me.â€? (Warning: sound.) Perhaps it does.