Saturday, February 11, 2012

What the World Thinks of the GOP

Recent European press op-ed about the American Republican primaries

The Republican presidential contest in America is a “freak show,” said
Marc Pitzke in the German Der Spiegel. The candidates vie with one another
to spew the most outrageous hard-right positions,  denying evolution while
endorsing torture and joking about electrocuting illegal immigrants. How
did a major  party in the world’'s sole superpower become a “club of
liars, debtors, betrayers, adulterers, exaggerators,  hypocrites, and

These know-nothings are enabled by a U.S. press that has been “neutered by
 the demands of political correctness” so that it can'’t say what’s
obvious: These people are daft! Instead, it “proclaims one clown after the
next to be the new front-runner.” The current favorite, Newt Gingrich, is 
actually considered an intellectual merely because he can create sentences
with multiple clauses. Scarcely a  one has even the most basic grasp of
foreign policy. One said Africa is a country, another that the Taliban
rule  in Libya. Collectively, “they expose a political, economic,
geographic, and historical ignorance that makes  George W. Bush look like
a scholar.”


That’'s the scariest part, said Lorraine Millot in the Paris Liberation.
The only GOP candidate who knows a thing about diplomacy, Jon Huntsman, is
dead last in most polls. The others “careen to extreme positions that
include starting new wars and abandoning old allies.” And that’'s when
they even have a position. Herman Cain, now thankfully out of the race,
was the front-runner even though he couldn't find a single coherent word
to say about President Obama'’s policy on Libya. He even boasted of
knowing little about foreign countries. And yet it was his adultery, not
his astounding ignorance that brought him down.


There’'s a simple explanation for this bizarre phenomenon, said Max
Hastings in the London Daily Mail. In the “lunatic, gun-toting badlands of
America'’s Hicksville, Tea Party country,” it'’s considered suspiciously
elitist to show any interest in modern science or the world beyond
America’'s borders. “Say what you like about British politics, no MP of
any party would dare to offer themselves as town dogcatcher while knowing
as little about the world as the Republican presidential candidates.” We
take public service seriously. Yet we in Britain, and everyone in the rest
of the world, will suffer if “one of the lunatics” vying for the
nomination makes it to the White House. “The American political system has
seldom, if ever, looked so inadequate.”

Don’t worry, said Matthew Norman in the London Independent. The fact that
Gingrich is the latest threat to Mitt Romney’'s inevitability just
“confirms how inevitable” Romney’'s nomination is. The thrice-married,
ethically challenged Gingrich is unlikable in the extreme. Which means the
nominee will be Romney, “the slimiest, phoniest opportunist to run for
president since...well, ever.” So sit back and enjoy this circus passing
for a presidential election. It can’'t possibly end in a GOP victory. Can

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