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European Hipsters on Mitt Romney

September 30, 2012

In 2008, President Obama was the rock star candidate which Europe’s hipsters to Brussels’ suited ministers where all cheering for. Europe welcomed the end of Bush’s ideological clash with the world. Light emerged in the tunnel for a new U.S.-Europe cooperative era. While the capitals of Europe have not been fully satisfied with some of Obama’s foreign policy decisions (such as the not-so-precise drone strikes killing civilians) Europe still prefers Obama over the Republican candidate in the 2012 election. Obama is the clear choice, not just because we, just like the think Republicans, label him as a European socialist. It is arguably because a U.S. presidency with Republican Mitt Romney on the thrown is simply too hard to get for most Europeans.

1. Romney’s view on the role of the state

Romney has harshly criticized Europe’s role of the state. While the bureaucratic machine of Brussels is not famous for reaching consensual decisions at the speed of Usain Bolt, Europe shares the same beliefs on the basic role of the state as Obama. The unifying European belief is that governments should provide health care, a fair tax structure and a social welfare system that protects the disadvantaged. Romney’s belief that there is an irreconcilable conflict between government sponsored healthcare and the freedom to pursue dreams bewilders Europeans. Perhaps Romney’s personal history of never having to worry about the reality of equality of opportunity makes it difficult for Europeans to understand Romney’s blunt dismissal of 47% of U.S. citizens. In Europe, healthcare is not seen as an entitlement, as Romney have argued, it is a right.

2. Romney’s religious beliefs on abortion

Europeans find it difficult to relate to the role religion plays among American conservatives. Making a political argument, based of religious grounds, sends chills down the rational, atheist spine of Europe. Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan’s position on abortion, based on religious views, seems extreme to many Europeans. Opposing abortion, even in cases of rape, incest and danger to the mother’s life seems so 18th century. The Republican bill earlier this year requiring women seeking abortions to be given mandatory ultrasound (although the legislation kindly allows them to avert their eyes during the procedure) seems unreal in the eyes of many European women.

3. Romney’s inability to play the Swiss-card in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

In the fundraising campaign video procured by Mother Jones’ David Corn, Romney said that he thought that, “Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish” and he called into question the viability of a two-state solution. European, Swiss-minded diplomats, whom argue for splitting the humanitarian aid evenly between Palestine and Israel and encourage a two-state solution, see Mr. Romney’s overtly pro-Israel stance as a hinder to the peace process.

It surely comes as no surprise that Europeans support the Democrats for historical and cultural reasons. While Europe does not have much to say on the U.S. election, Europe does not want future trans-Atlantic relations to be based on a relationship with a U.S. president whom they simply do not get on basic fundamental issues.


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