Well, you didn't get much in the way of constructive response here, did you? Pity really.
It's an interesting take, of Sullivan's, to call the combination of the two big election winners in Holland, the Liberals and the far right Freedom Party, "a Dutch Tea Party". I dunno if that really fits.
Let's take Geert Wilders' Freedom Party
first. It shares many of the US Tea Partiers' temperamental sensibilities, for sure. The party's voters are angry at the government, angry at how the country has changed, they are fiercely anti-establishment, and they have little up with the traditional, sedate conventions of political discourse. They are loud, raucous and deeply polarizing.
But the all-overriding attraction of Wilders' party lies in its relentless agitation against immigration and Islam. Now I don't expect Tea Partiers to be particularly friendly disposed towards immigration either, but I don't think it's their primary attraction. Meanwhile, when it comes to economic policy, Wilders' Freedom Party moved significantly left this time around.
Four years ago Wilders was still advocating the virtues of small government and cutting budgets and subsidies. But not so much this time - he's smart and knows that most of the anti-immigrant/muslim voters he's courting are working class and, while they hate the government in the abstract, do enjoy their subsidies and benefits. So this time he actually campaigned against
many of the economic reforms that the other rightwing parties were proposing.
Wilders is still all for cutting politicians' salaries and cutting the number of civil servants, and for cutting taxes. But he's now against making it easier for employers to fire people, against increasing the retirement age, against decreasing the scholarships which every Dutch student receives from the state. He's against reducing the rent subsidies that many Dutch people receive, and against letting real estate owners freely set rent prices (there's still government-regulated caps on rent hikes in Holland). He's against reducing the scope of the government-guaranteed and -regulated private health insurance which all the Dutch have to carry. (We have something like ObamaCare, basically, and Wilders want to keep it as it is.) He's against cutting the length of unemployment benefits. He's against more "market-based competition" between health care insitutions. Et cetera.
On the other hand, the Liberals
(we refer to them by the party's acronym, VVD) are all about small government, it's true. They are, and always have been, in favour of curtailing government, cutting taxes, slashing subsidies, cutting benefits. But they have little of the US Tea Partiers' raucous, anti-establishment insurgent fervour. While they will sometimes pretend
to have it, it's kind of like those establishment GOPers that suddenly discover that they hate "the political elites", even though they've been in DC themselves for decades and were in power for most of the last decade. The Dutch Liberals were in government from 1994 through to 2006, first with Labour, then with the Christian-Democrats. They were a government party for 23 of the last 33 years.
And that's just politics. The Liberal electorate, to a large extent, rules the economy: CEOs, financial managers, captains of industry, stockbrokers - they're all very likely to have always been voting Liberal. While the party enjoys healthy support from small business owners and shopkeepers too, the basic rule of the Liberal electorate is that the higher the income group, the greater the share of the Liberal vote. E.g. in the previous elections (2006), the Liberals got 9% of low-income votes, 13% of middle-income votes and 24% of high-income votes.
All of this doesn't touch yet on what is perhaps the main gulf between American Tea Partiers and the Dutch rightwingers. And that's culture. Both the Liberals and, surprisingly, the Freedom Party are fairly stridently secular and liberal when it comes to 'moral' politics. Both are pro-choice. Both are pro-gay marriage. The Liberals stand for legalized euthanasia, and the Freedom Party, too, believes that "professional aid in euthanasia should under certain circumstances be possible". Both believe that religious schools should not be allowed the right to refuse to hire gay teachers.
The Freedom Party makes a big deal of how those pesky, conservative Muslim immigrants are threatening the freedoms of our
gays, Jews and emancipated women. While the Freedom Party is as concened about protecting our traditional, national culture as the Tea Partiers' are about "keeping America American", Wilders' party wants to do that by "enshrining the Judeo-Christian and Humanist roots of the Netherlands in the Constitution." The Freedom Party is for a ban on industrial-scale "mega-farms" (of the kind which, I'm guessing, are very commonplace in the American MidWest).
In short, yes, I can superficially see the parallels between the Tea Partiers and the Freedom Party in insurgent temperament, and between the Tea Partiers and the Liberals in economic policy preferences, but there's arguably a lot more that separates them than that unites them - and the two parties themselves are very different and have different electorates.