NEW YORK | In the political arena, Republican candidates often depict Europe as a failed model and a “socialist state”, being socialist the worst of the adjectives. In one of his speeches, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney accused President Obama of looking forward to “turning the US into a European-style welfare state.”
For some of the most conservative Americans, Europe is a whole anticapitalist mess, forgetting the fact that Norway, for example, is richer per capita than the US. As Nicholas Kristof points out, the old continent has a problem of labor rigidity, but:
“According to figures from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, per-capita G.N.P. in France was 64 percent of the American figure in 1960. That rose to 73 percent by 2010. Zut alors! The socialists gained on us!”
GOP candidates are used to be mocked by his competitors. The race to the White House isn’t smooth, as John Huntsman, who just withdrew from the campaign, knows. But Romney has been even accused of speaking French by his peers! Take a look at Newt Gingrinch’ad called The French Connection. At some point the narrator points out that Romney
“would do anything to win… anything. And just like John Kerry -he says with scandalized tone- he speaks French.”
In his article “Why is Europe a dirty word?”, published in the New York Times, N. Kristof makes a hilarious parody on how Obama is plotting to turn Americans into Europeans and what would be the result of that:
It’s a languid morning in Peoria, as a husband and wife are having breakfast. “You’re sure you don’t want eggs and bacon?” the wife asks. “Oh, no, I prefer these croissants,” the husband replies. “They have a lovely je ne sais quoi.”
He dips the croissant into his café au-lait and chews it with zest. “What do you want to do this evening?” he asks. “Now that we’re only working 35 hours a week, we have so much more time. You want to go to the new Bond film?”
“I’d rather go to a subtitled art film,” she suggests. “Or watch a pretentious intellectual television show.”
“I hear Kim Kardashian is launching a reality TV show where she discusses philosophy and global politics with Bernard-Henri Lévy,” he muses. “Oh, chérie, that reminds me, let’s take advantage of the new pétanque channel and host a super-boules party.”
“Parfait! And we must work out our vacation, now that we can take all of August off. Instead of a weekend watching ultimate fighting in Vegas, let’s go on a monthlong wine country tour.”
“How romantic!” he exclaims. “I used to worry about getting sick on the road. But now that we have universal health care, no problem!”
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