The U.S. -- and Britain -- need a Romney victory

From a British point of view, the choice should be straightforward. Mr Obama made clear in his book, Dreams From My Father, that he had a low opinion of us, and has acted accordingly, removing Winston Churchill’s bust from the Oval Office, backing Argentina’s demands for sovereignty talks over the Falklands, raging at an imaginary company called “British Petroleum” during the Gulf oil spill. Mr Romney, by contrast, is an old-fashioned Republican when it comes to foreign policy: he knows who America’s friends are.

There is, though, a much stronger reason for wanting him to win. Focused as we are on what the Chancellor calls the “chilling effect” of the euro crisis, we rarely consider the possibility of a similar crisis in the United States. Yet, if we employ the measure used to calculate the Maastricht criteria, the US has a larger national debt than Greece’s. And whereas a Greek default might be managed as a controlled explosion, a collapse in the US would blow the world economy to splinters…

In a television interview after Mr Romney’s speech, the presenter asked me whether it was possible to win on an austerity message. Hadn’t the Greeks just punished the politicians who suggested deep budget cuts? “Yes,” I told him, “but Americans aren’t Greeks. We expect better of you.”