Yes, Obama is trying to get more people health insurance. Is that a bad idea just because the Europeans have done a better job of this than we have?
But by far the biggest flaw in Romney’s Euro-Obama riff is the implication that there is something terribly wrong about learning from Europe. The genius of the American character is that we have always been willing to take lessons from any country that had something to teach us. We don’t turn away from good ideas just because they didn’t originate here. We refine them and adjust them to suit our needs and our tradition. Openness is an American strength.
Two fine historians, James Kloppenberg and Daniel Rodgers, have written illuminating books on how progressive ideas crisscrossed the Atlantic at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were all happy to learn from Europe. Were they un-American? Then again, no one ever accused them of “Kenyan anti-colonial behavior.” Is it asking too much of Obama’s opponents to acknowledge once and for all that he is really and truly American?