Monday, January 16, 2012

It's not that he's European, it's that he's Dutch, Baby!

E.J. Dionne believes that the evil Republicans -- Mitt Romney in particular, but he writes the article in such a way to allow him to use quotes from anyone -- are still attacking Mr. Obama's legitimacy: "So Obama is still not fully American, in Romney’s telling."
"Obama, Romney said, “wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society” and “takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe”... The most benign reading of Romney’s speech is that he is suggesting Obama’s economic policies will send us into a crisis like the one that has engulfed the European Union. This charge is nonsense."
Is that the "most benign reading" that his capacities can conceive? Seriously? How about a suggestion that Obama's economic policies will propogate a cycle of higher government costs, lower defense spending, greater requirements for social welfare programs, a lower trend of economic growth, and a set of even more difficult political choices in the future?
"And the core premise of Romney’s claim is untrue. The notion that Obama wants to turn the United States into a “European-style entitlement society” is laughable. It’s not even a fair description of Europe, which boasts of some highly productive and innovative capitalist economies."
I don't find the notion all that funny. I don't think of Europe as a completely failed organizational model, fully socialist and approaching armageddon. But "more European" is not an attractive concept.
"As for Obama, he has bent over backward to strengthen market capitalism, sometimes to the consternation of his own supporters."
I do not get this statement at all. Which of his major activities are we referring to? I don't think that Mr. Obama is the worst-case-scenario of socialism, but "strengthening market capitalism" has not been his priority.
"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."
Well, we evaluate ideas and determine if they are good or bad, first, don't we?
"Is it asking too much of Obama’s opponents to acknowledge once and for all that he is really and truly American?"
Words fail me. But since that could be construed as some tacit failure to acknowledge his true American-ness, I wish to formally and publicly acknowledge that Barack H. Obama is a real, true American, as American as I am, and although I would not classify myself as an opponent of his per se, I utterly reject anyone's attempt to delegitimize Mr. Obama by raising questions about his citizenship. I do reserve the right, however, to criticize his basic fitness for the job.

As for Mr. Dionne, I really don't think he proved that he had a useful point. The WSJ occasionally refers to him as "Baghdad Bob", which seems extreme. But this is just cheerleading. Painfully unfocused cheerleading at that.

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