Has Europe Become a Dirty Word in the GOP Primary?

Recent financial events in the Eurozone have been deeply troubling. One of the most common comparisons conservatives the United States make is that the current path will lead to the U.S. becoming like Greece or Italy–that the risk of U.S. fiscal problems puts us on a collision course with national bankruptcy. Many conservatives believe the direction the Obama Administration is charting for the United States will lead to a welfare-state style of government common to Eurozone countries.

Some in Europe have decided that their continent has become a source of mockery to the GOP presidential candidates, and they are not pleased. In a piece authored by Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff and published by Public Service Europe, the author opines on the anti-European sentiment in the United States in general and the disdain from the GOP presidential candidates in particular.

Mitt Romney, one of the leading Republican United States presidential candidates, has informed his countrymen over the past few weeks that Barack Obama is working to turn America into Europe.

Romney contends that under Obama, a “European-style welfare state” is America’s destiny. Or, in another version of this horrific vision that permeates most of the candidate’s campaign speeches, “a European-style entitlement society”. Obama, according to Romney, “takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe; we look to the cities and small towns of America”. Learning from Europe seems to “poison the very spirit of America”

It is true that President Obama and the left seem to favor the European welfare-state model. It is not some extraneous point cloaked in secrecy. Therefore, it is not an odd coincidence that center-right politicians and conservative Americans would be using this particular vernacular in discussions about our fiscal crisis and the direction of the nation.

Greece has become a poster child for an out-of-control, welfare-state government that has proven unwilling to accept the hard austerity measures necessary to deal with their fiscal crisis. Even in the last few days, the ongoing Eurozone talks have resulted in stonewalling from the Greeks and the announcement of a second €145 billion bailout. When Republicans discuss the dangers posed to America by a European-style social democracy, Greece is the leading example. Learning from Greece’s example is poisonous to the spirit of America if the Greece model is emulated, as opposed to learning from the lessons of its failure and rejecting it.

Kleine-Brockhoff spends a significant amount of time in the rest of the piece complaining about the mean Americans and their proclamation that France in particular and Europe in general are “Euroweenies.” Many informed readers will remember well the French resistance to the invasion in Iraq in 2003. Clearly, the European leftists were happy to ignore the murderous regime in Iraq, or at least surrender before the first shot was fired.

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In his final paragraph, Kleine-Brockhoff finally admits this is real basis for the perceived anti-European sentiment:

The question is how seriously to take all of this Eurobaloney? In this Republican presidential primary campaign, Europe has been nothing but a foil. Anti-Europeanism has been a code word for anti-liberalism.

He is profoundly correct that the desire of Republican candidates and the majority of Americans is to avoid the leftist ideology that is destroying Europe piecemeal. Americans are quite capable of making the connection between European leftism and its complete failure on so many levels.

Europe is only a dirty word in this primary on the basis of the failed leftist policies of Europe. Americans are not inclined to be anti-European. It is a destination many Americans enjoy visiting and a place to which many of them trace their family roots. The reason Europe has received negative attention from Republicans is because of the failure of its leftist policies, which represent a record most Americans, excluding AmeriWeenies (aka leftists), want to avoid.