There are always contradictions within campaigns. One of the accusations leveled by Republicans against Barack Obama is that he is too “European,” and that he embraces a “European socialist vision” for America. He’s even (gasp!) done some fundraising among Americans overseas.
And yet, Mitt Romney is embarking on the pilgrimage required of all presidential candidates; he must take the show abroad in order to symbolically earn some chops in the foreign policy department. This truly is smoke and mirrors, identical to the campaign swing Candidate Obama took back in 2008, when he was met by cheering crowds in places like Berlin. It’s all about the photo ops: Romney in London, reminding everyone that he saved the Salt Lake City Olympics (and maybe scooping up a few pounds sterling in the process from the denizens of the City of London, which is our Wall Street).
On to Middle East, so that he can have his picture taken in front of the Western Wall and shake hands with Bibi on his home turf. Then Poland, where presumably he’ll pay homage to the Madonna of Czestochowa and stuff his face with pierogis.
Why Poland? Think of all those Polish-Americans in swing-state cities like Akron, Toledo, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Hamtramck and the wave of retirees from such places who’ve moved to Florida.
But this isn’t Romney being European, at least not in the same way that Obama, who spent part of his upbringing in Indonesia, is European. It isn’t even Romney being European in the sense that he did his missionary time in Paris and can speak French as well as Maurice Chevalier.
No, it’s about Mitt Romney the statesman astride the world stage. Nothing more, nothing less—and don’t you forget it.