The first law of Democratic campaign narratives is that the GOP nominee is, must, and can only be racist, so here’s Tingles paying homage to Mitt’s nominal frontrunner status. Ironically, it’s the first law of Republican campaign narratives that the Democratic nominee is, must, and can only be a pointy-headed socialist elitist who disdains rural American culture (unless he’s from the south), a fact Matthews nods at by recalling how John Kerry was also described as “French” before quickly discarding it to pursue ye olde xenophobia storyline. At the Foreign Policy blog, Joshua Keating tries to fill in the blanks for the “Hardball” crowd:
At our recent Shadow Government event here at FP, the panelists suggested that a major challenge for the GOP field would be to make the case that Obama has made the country weaker and accepted the narrative of “American decline,” without pandering to extremists who see him as not only un-American but anti-American.
Romney’s solution seems to be the label of “European,” which, for the American electorate, carries the twin connotations of timidity in foreign affairs and socialist economic policies. (Though the stereotype also feels a little dated given that Western Europe’s major powers are, for the most part, currently ruled by conservative governments whose passion for austerity budgets is tempered only by their enthusiasm for bombing North Africa.)
Fair point about the moldiness of the stereotype. “Timidity in foreign affairs” ain’t what it used to be either given Sarkozy’s charge into Libya and Obama’s own exceedingly Bush-ian counterterror policies, capped, of course, by the Bin Laden raid. The “European” label is aimed, I think, mainly at ObamaCare and The One’s math-defying comfort with America’s current social welfare system, as well as at his immortal condescending “bitter/clinger” sneer on the trail in 2008 (which he’s repeated occasionally with minor variations ever since, even as a goof). I don’t follow European politics regularly but I’m reasonably sure that “American” is sometimes used there as a pejorative towards politicians who are unilateralist, hawkish, and/or perhaps, shall we say, too “simplistic” in their world view. Is that “nativist” too, per Matthews’s formulation? Or is it just … basic parochial retail politics?
Luckily for us, American liberals eschew such demagoguery towards their opponents. Oh, almost forgot: After you’re done watching this, go watch Van Jones claim that Paul Ryan’s Medicare budget would destroy more U.S. infrastructure “than Al Qaeda ever dreamed of.” Exit question: You know who’d be an amazing guest on “Hardball”? This guy. Click the image to watch.